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Sunday, March 1, 2009

How to Repop Popcorn Kernels

One of my favorite go to snacks is popcorn. I like to make my popcorn old school – in a pot on the stove. It’s less wasteful than microwave popcorn, inexpensive, and if you don’t slather it in butter (real or fake), it’s pretty darn healthy.

After enjoying a bowl of popcorn during a pay per view movie on cable (no, not that kind of pay per view movie - get your mind out of the gutter – we watched Momma Mia! ) there were quite a few unpopped kernels in the bottom of the bowl. Normally I’d chuck them in the trash bin because I don’t think the kernels would break down in the composter and the last thing I need is for The Condo to look like Green Acres with corn accidently growing all over my front flowerbeds!

I looked at the unpopped popcorn kernels and thought about Crunchy Chicken’s Food Waste Reduction Challenge. I’d actually have something to report if I them threw away unless…I repopped those unpopcorn kernels and ate them.

I remember my mom telling me that her Grandmother would repop popcorn kernels but my mom said that it never worked for her. I figured what the hey? The worse that could happen is that I burn the kernels and throw them out which I was about to do anyway. I tried it and guess what – it worked!

How to Pop Popcorn on the Stove

As a point of reference, here are the directions for popping popcorn on the stove according to the directions on the bag.

1. Cover the bottom of a pot with cooking oil.
2. Add one or two corn kernels to the pot.
3. Cover the pot with a lid and set the heat on the stove to medium-high.
4. After the kernel pops, add the rest of the popcorn to the pot.
5. Cover the pot with a lid, and shake it occasionally so it doesn’t burn until the popcorn stops popping.
6. Season as desired and eat!

How to RePop Popcorn Kernels on the Stove

To repop the spent popcorn kernels I had to modify the directions from the popcorn bag a bit. Please remember that I’m repopping popcorn kernels that have already gone though one popping session on a stove. I don’t know how or if this stove technique will work with unpopped kernels that have gone through a popping session in the microwave or in an electric/air popcorn popper.

1. Cover the bottom of a pot with cooking oil.
2. Skip the above test kernel Steps 2 -4.
3. Pour all of the popcorn kernels you want to repop into the bottom of the pan.
4. Cover the pot with a lid and set the heat to medium, which on my electric stove is five.

  • You lucky people with natural gas stoves will have to figure out what setting is medium-low for yourselves.

  • The key is to heat the popcorn at a slightly lower temperature for a little longer. It’s like the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady wins the race – or in this case, pops more unpopped popcorn kernels.

5. Wait for the popcorn to start popping and shake the pot occasionally so it doesn’t burn until the popcorn stops popping.
6. Season your popcorn with salt or your favorite herbs (I like basil and oregano) and enjoy!

Whaddaya think? Are you going to try it? Or have you tried it? Did it work?

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