Did you know that popcorn can be healthy? (This may be a fact that you want to keep a secret from your kids in case it puts them off wanting to eat it!) Air-cooked popcorn eaten plain is not only low on calories, it’s also good for you - it’s everything we put on it that makes it unhealthy, such as butter, syrup, salt, etc. For example, a large bucket of flavoured popcorn at the cinema has 1,400 calories and contains over 5g of salt. So if you need to keep family and friends quiet during an at-home film night, our American Popcorn Maker is a fun addition to your kitchen that will allow you to serve up a treat they won’t realise is good for them!
Why is popcorn healthy?
Air-cooked popcorn has a number of properties that make it so healthy. It is classified as a whole grain which means it’s high in fibre, and this helps with weight control as it makes you feel full faster than low-fibre foods. It is also low in calories (30g of popcorn is just 122 calories), so you’ll be ingesting fewer calories in the first place. High-fibre foods also help reduce your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, especially among the middle-aged. It has a low GI which will help regulate your blood sugar levels.
Popcorn also contains antioxidants which help your body fight off many illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
What makes popcorn pop?
Popcorn is made from a type of corn that’s related to sweetcorn, but it differs in one major way - if you dry sweetcorn kernels and try to pop them, it won’t work. With popcorn, the kernels have a non-porous, hard outer shell which keeps moisture locked inside (around 13-14% which is optimal for popping). When the kernel is heated, the water inside the kernel heats and mixes with starch. Because the kernel has a non-porous surface, the pressure builds inside it and, with nowhere else to expand, the kernel eventually pops (explodes). The starch and water mixture quickly dry into the popcorn shape. The outer shell of a sweetcorn kernel is porous, which means when you heat it, the water simply evaporates - with no internal pressure, there can be no pop!
Our popcorn maker uses hot air to heat the corn, and it can produce popcorn in under five minutes.
What to put on your popcornAir-cooked, plain popcorn is obviously the healthiest way to eat it, but where’s the fun in that? If you want to add flavours to your popcorn without smothering it with butter, syrup or chocolate, there are plenty of ways to give it a bit of a kick without spoiling your diet.
If you can’t do without at least a little oil, lightly coat your popcorn with cooking spray or a little melted coconut oil or vegetable oil, which can be mixed with your preferred flavourings.
Savoury - If you prefer savoury flavourings, try grated parmesan cheese with a bit of cayenne pepper or chilli powder to taste. Alternatively, sprinkle with barbecue seasoning. Salt & vinegar works too - sprinkle with sea salt and apple cider vinegar for a slightly different flavour. You can also infuse herbs in olive oil and drizzle it over the popcorn. To make infused oil, put some olive oil in a pan, add dried herbs and gently heat; the heating process releases the flavours of the herbs. If you have more time, add a combination of your favourite fresh herbs, such as basil, rosemary, sage etc, possibly even garlic too, into a jar or bottle, pour on the olive oil, seal tightly and leave in a cool, dark place for a couple of weeks to infuse; make sure you wash and dry your herbs first.
Sweet - To make popcorn more interesting without sugar, add dried fruit and cinnamon. Alternatively drizzle the popcorn with honey or melted dark chocolate. Or heat up equal parts of butter and honey and mix in with your popcorn - add salt to taste.
However you like your popcorn, make sure it’s made with the American Popcorn Maker.