Sunday, October 30, 2011

Avoids Carcinogens with Homemade Popcorn [Recipe]

After several hours of racking leaves, my husband wanted popcorn as a quick snack.  As he started walking toward the cupboard, I knew exactly what he was going to get.  I still have a box of microwave popcorn from my pre-natural and pre-organic days.  (Do not ask me why I still have it.)  I stopped him halfway to the cupboard and told him that I can make him popcorn on the stove.  I quickly recalled that Giada De Laurentiis made popcorn in a pot one time.

Before I share the recipe, I want to tell why I am never again going to eat microwave popcorn (unless it was the end of the world as we know it and that's all I had left to eat).  I have read many articles about the dangers of microwaved popcorn.  Yes, microwaved popcorn is dangerous!  Not only are you microwaving food (another topic of discussion), but you're microwaving it in a lined paper bag with fake buttery flavor.

First, let's talk about the bag.  How dangerous can a paper bag be?  Very dangerous to your health, especially if you eat microwaved popcorn on a regular basis.  An FDA report showed that the chemical coating used on the inside of the bag breaks down when heated into a substance called perfluorooctanoic (PFOA).  The EPA identifies PFOA as a "likely carcinogen." (Source) Likely or unlikely, I want to avoid anything that subject matter experts deem as potentially cancer causing.  

Second, let's discover what the "butter" flavor really is. The fake butter flavor contain an FDA-approved chemical called diacetyl.  A number of microwave popcorn producers have stopped using the chemical in their products because it can cause "popcorn workers lung."  (I have to admit I laughed a little when I read this, but this is a serious condition). The medical term is bronchiolitis obliterans, which is caused by extended inhalation of chemical fumes. (Source) This condition is life-threatening and non-reversible.  If you have this condition, you cough, experienced shortness of breath, and wheezing. (Source) While you might not work in the microwave popcorn factory, you are still contributing to other people's health problems.  If you eat microwave popcorn on a regular basis, the toxic chemical is also released in your kitchen.  At least get the plain popcorn and pour melted butter on top of it.  Eat real food, people!
(image source: View Along the Way)


I will now get off my soap box and share my recipe with you.

Picture of Popcorn with Rosemary Infused Oil RecipeRecipe: I made Giada's recipe for Popcorn with Rosemary Infused Oil.  This was my first time making popcorn in a pot on the stove.  I let the oil heat on Medium-Low and threw in a few fresh rosemary sprigs. After about 5 minutes, I took the rosemary sprigs out, turned the heat to medium, and threw in the organic popcorn kernels (make sure you get organic as conventional corn can be GMO).  The popcorn and the oil took a little while to heat up and then popped for about 5 minutes.  Once popped, I poured it into a bowl and sprinkled Moroccan seasoning on top.  I had a few unpopped kernels, so I put the pot back on the heat to finish popping.

Results:  The popcorn was delicious! I found it easy to control the temperature and avoided burning the kernels. Next time, I am going to try to different infusions and seasonings.  I highly recommend this recipe to any popcorn popping novice.

A Man's Take: My husband completely forget about the microwaved popcorn and gladly ate the whole bowl by himself.  He did not miss the fake butter flavor at all.  Success!

At some point in the past 60 or so years, families traded the old tried-and-true method of a pot of kernels in a heart-friendly oil or an air popper for the mysterious little bag of kernels that grows in the microwave, creating "buttery" flavored popcorn.  Cooking popcorn using the traditional method gave me the satisfaction of making the popcorn just right and infusing it with the flavor that I want.

>> How do you make your popcorn? What flavors does your family like?


Good Girl Gone Green said...

I love air popped popcorn. i have an old school popcorn machine (probably from the '80s). We pop it, and drizzle oil on top and add some salt! Yum. i hate microwave popcorn for all the reasons you mentioned plus it taste gross!

Zoie @ TouchstoneZ said...

Great post! I don't think most people realize how easy it is to make homemade popcorn! And the taste is so worth it, isn't it?

I'm really lucky because there's a local farm owned by the parks department that grows everything using organic, sustainable practices. They run tours for various people and companies. They also run tours for little kids and each child gets an ear of dried, organic popcorn at the end. It doesn't get much better than that. I have 3 kids, so every time we run low, we take another tour (and make a donation, of course)

Unknown said...

Zoie. You are blessed to have a local organic farm! What a great way to educate your kids. I need to do more research in Cincinnati. I would love to get into an organic CSA, just need to make the jump.

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