Best Popcorn For Whirley Pop

David Lawrence
• Friday, 30 October, 2020
• 8 min read

Loose popcorn is less expensive than the bagged brands, and I’m amazed at the quality difference. Each kernel is light and crunchy, and I no longer have to avoid those burnt bits at the bottom of the bag.

popcorn movie poppers night
(Source: www.womansworld.com)


So don’t try to dry corn on the cob to make your own popcorn because it won’t work! The first consideration is color: popcorn is primarily white or yellow, although some artisan producers offer blue, red, purple or multi-colored.

It creates firm, strong popcorn that’s great for holding up to coatings like caramel corn. It’s worth noting that while all popcorn varieties have a hull (the outer layer that holds the kernel together before it pops), some popcorn is “hullers.” These hulls are thinner, softer and easier to chew and digest.

When oil is heated past its designated target temperature, it starts to smoke, break down and become rancid. At home, it’s considered one of the healthiest ways to make popcorn because it doesn’t require any oil.

Add two tablespoons of any oil with a high smoke point and 1/3 cup popcorn kernels to the pot and cover it with a lid. Shake the pan to help the popcorn heat evenly for two to three minutes, until all the kernels have popped.

This is a great way to skip all those added ingredients like salt, oil and chemical flavorings designed to taste like butter. As a bonus, it can be done in any paper bag or a reusable microwave popcorn maker, like this collapsible Cuisinart container.

whirley popcorn pop maker
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

That’s good news if you’re worried about the perfluorinated compounds (PCs) in store-bought popcorn bags. Fold the top over to trap the steam inside and microwave it on high heat for two to three minutes.

Paper bags aren’t technically microwave safe, so don’t wander off while it’s popping, just in case. We haven’t found a difference in flavor or texture by adding all the kernels to the cold pan, so save yourself some time and go all-in in the beginning.

The very best way to ensure most kernels pop is to invest in a lightweight aluminum pan with a crank, like the Wiretap. After the kernels pop, they’re forced out of the popper and into a storage area, where they no longer have access to the hot air.

Popcorn can become tough and chewy if it’s trapped inside a container with steam. When making microwave popcorn, it’s best to open the bag immediately after popping to release the steam.

You’ll want to add melted butter or oil to help the seasonings stick. Or amp-up the savory vibes by adding dried basil, marjoram, thyme and parsley.

pop popcorn whirley popper corn purple non gmo popcorns kettle whirly food52 caramel popping maker pops pot smart recipe toffee
(Source: food52.com)

Don’t be afraid to add spice to your popcorn, like cayenne pepper, smoked paprika or anchor Chile powder. Use one of our flavored popcorn recipes to jazz up your favorite movie night snack.

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Stovetop-popped with plenty of oil: This method was made popular by Chef Jessica Follow of Swirl in LA. The abundant oil perfectly coats the popped kernels, allowing them to grab on tightly to your dry seasonings without any additional fat.

Team Light and Crispy preferred popcorn made in the Shirley Pop with just a touch of oil, which was fluffy and had a delicate and crisp texture that made it easy to shove handful after handful into your face. Team Rich and Crunchy was all about Chef Follow’s fried-kernel method, which gave the fat-coated, glistening popcorn a dense and hearty crunch.

This is due to its unique combination of a tough exterior, a densely packed and starchy interior, and 14 to 20% moisture by weight. It’s this ratio that determines the qualities of the corn and, most importantly for our purposes, whether it’ll pop.

whirley pop popcorn popper piece aluminum
(Source: www.homedepot.com)

Because popcorn contains a high percentage of amylose relative to other types of corn, it is more densely packed and harder. The starch then immediately cools into the crisp, crunchy, and light foam that has us coming back for more.

Because the outer hull isn’t completely impermeable, timing is also of vital importance. Heating up the kernels too slowly can result in the moisture escaping, leaving behind a surplus of unpopped kernels; heating too quickly means the starch inside won't have a chance to hydrate, resulting in less fluffy popcorn.

The best method of popping corn will evenly heat up the kernels, not too fast nor too slowly, while also allowing the developing steam to escape, so the popcorn stays crisp and crunchy. For both the stove top and the Shirley -Popped corn, I first preheated the oil over medium-high heat with just a couple kernels.

Because popcorn acts as its own thermometer, once those test kernels popped, I knew the oil was at the ideal temperature. For the microwave popcorn, following the manufacturer’s instructions, I added the corn to the bowl and secured the vented lid.

Once the kernels pop, their increased surface area allows them to be easily blown through a chute by the air. This method resulted in big, fluffy kernels, with a hearty and dense crunch that many tasters preferred.

kettle corn chocolate pop housefulofhandmade popcorn
(Source: housefulofhandmade.com)

The popcorn popped with this method also stayed crunchy the longest, retaining its texture even the next day. This method also cuts out the extra step of buttering up your popped corn, which can often lead to soggy kernels.

Whole butter contains both water, which will generate steam, and milk solids, which will burn at the high temperature required to pop corn. In ghee and clarified butter, both the water and the milk solids have been removed, so you get that buttery flavor without the unwanted steam or burning.

In order to prevent the popcorn from becoming soggy from the steam created during cooking, Chef Follow keeps the lid slightly ajar throughout the process. But in my testing, I found that this provided an opening for hot fat to jet out, nearly taking out an eye in one instance.

First, I popped the corn in the same pot, but fully covered with a grease splatter screen in place of the lid. This allowed all the steam to escape, leaving not a single soggy kernel, but it left me heavily speckled with oil burns.

The kitchen towel absorbs the moisture that develops as the popcorn pops, while allowing you to keep the lid safely shut. If you’re making popcorn using this hot-oil method, I've found that a clean kitchen towel is your best friend, regardless of whether you're popping in a pot or in a Wiretap.

pop whirley popcorn recipes mixingbowlkids typepad
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

Either way, given the high potential of towels catching on fire or oil hitting your eyeballs, it’s safe to say that this method isn’t recommended for small children or popcorn -popping novices. The Air-Popper Method Eating the stale and soggy air-popped popcorn was like snacking on Styrofoam peanuts.

Even right out of the popper, the corn failed to taste crisp and crunchy, likely because the internal starches weren’t heated enough to fully hydrate and swell. Not only did this method leave behind many unpopped kernels, the popcorn also easily burned if left in the microwave for just seconds too long.

I’ve permanently put away my air popper and am now and forever a Wiretap believer. How much oil is added during popping is what will determine whether you end up with light and fluffy or dense and crunchy kernels.

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