What is Air Popped Popcorn?

Andy Waters
Latest posts by Andy Waters (see all)

Air popped popcorn is undoubtedly one of the most effective, safe, and easiest ways to make popcorn. It allows movie fanatics and lovers of all things sweet and salty to pop open their own kernels whilst having full control over what ingredients they use.

As such, eating air popped popcorn is the perfect way to create a healthier snack for your date night or movie shenanigans!

The History Of Air Popped Popcorn

This delicious snack goes back thousands of years and is rooted in dozens of differing methods of cooking. In the US, this snack became increasingly popular during the second world war and during The Great Depression that preceded it as it was readily and widely affordable and available thanks to street carts and mobile popcorn stands.

One of the original carts was created by Charles Cretors in the 1890s and he used a steam-powered process in order to roast his corn kernels. By the early 1900s, these carts used electrical power in order to make it easier, cheaper and more convenient to deliver popcorn to the masses.

Air-popped popcorn continued its popularity throughout the 1900s until approximately 1980 when the first bag of microwave popcorn quite literally burst onto the scene!

As microwave ovens became a staple across most American households, less people purchased the air popped alternative although this style of popcorn was still widely available in movie theaters or at fairgrounds.

Air popped popcorn would also have a consumer resurgence in the 2010s when bagged, air popped popcorn began to find its place on the shelves of most grocery stores.

How to Make Your Own Air Popped Popcorn?

Whilst the bagged variety may avoid most of the harmful chemical components that microwave popcorn contains, it is still often overloaded with oils and a high level of salt.

The result is saturated fat that results in higher calories and detrimental health. In order to really eat the healthiest form of popcorn, you will need to make it yourself.

In order to do so, you can purchase specific equipment like a hot air popper which is the device that most movie theatres use in order to pop kernels.

You can also pop your kernels by purchasing a paper bag, putting some kernels inside and microwaving it so you can avoid the additives of ready-made microwave alternatives.

However, this may be a process of trial and error and can be slightly hazardous if you overcook your kernels so remain vigilant whilst using this method of popping your kernels.

The easiest, safest and most convenient way to make air popped popcorn is to pop your kernels via a stovetop.

This is a very easy process and you will only require a non-stick pot that has a lid. You can add additional ingredients such as butter or olive oil as part of the process if you wish but if you do want to add butter, you should microwave your butter first prior to pouring it across your fresh popcorn.

Is Air Popped Popcorn Healthy?

Corn kernels are made from healthy, whole grains which are low in fat and high in fiber. It is only the additional elements that you may choose to add, like butter, that will increase the calorific element of your air popped popcorn.

Using the stovetop ensures that you will be utilizing the safest and purest coolest method to pop your kernels and this also produces the tastiest result as you’ll be enjoying a snack that has been cooked naturally and as such, the resulting flavor is undoubtedly fresher than any bagged alternatives.

If you are used to microwave popcorn that is high in sugar or salt, you may find the flavor of air popped popcorn pretty bland if it has just been cooked on the stove with no additions. However, some wonderfully healthy, tasty alternative toppings include cayenne pepper, sea salt and coconut oil.

If you choose to add butter to your popcorn, ensure that you are using it in moderation in order to keep the calories low and you will undoubtedly be eating some of the healthiest popcorn that you have ever had!

To conclude, air popped popcorn is the healthiest alternative to microwave popcorn or bagged popcorn. This is because the kernels are cooked in the traditional, natural way without the additives that can cause a variety of health issues ranging from heart disease to cancer.

If you are a health-conscious individual with a sweet tooth, there are numerous recipes that offer alternative ways of sweetening your popcorn without overloading yourself with calories and saturated fat. Air popped popcorn has a heritage that extends back hundreds of years and making your own is an easy and cheap process.

It is also a fun thing to do with children as they get masses of enjoyment from the popping of the kernels. This snack was the perfect antidote to war time conditions for a reason and helped many people through the years of ‘The Great Depression’. As such, popcorn has a history that is unrivalled and this snack has undoubtedly brought copious amounts of enjoyment for many families over many different lifetimes.

Popcorn carts and stands are still a staple of inner city life for a reason and you are guaranteed to get a fresher flavor from your kernels if you allow them to pop open as nature intended.

You will also be avoiding many of the harmful chemicals that branded varieties tend to contain and inherently avoid the guilt that may occur after eating a whole bag of this wholesome treat!

Purchase a non-stick pan and get your air popped popcorn popping today, you won’t ever need (or want) to purchase another bag of unhealthy microwave popcorn again!