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SHOP TALK: Old-Fashioned Pop's Delight Popcorn
by April Henry

Welcome back to Shop Talk here at The Featherweight Shop! We love our local chit chat with staff, gathering around the dinette table so-to-speak (because that is what we have!) and sharing with one another. In these segments, we exchange patterns, recipes, organizational ideas, history quips, gardening tips, crafty projects, and smiles about learning an old-fashioned way of doing things. Shop Talk is the fun tidbits of news!

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NOTE:  We simply could not resist the occasional pun in this post.

Popcorn has become a staple food for our family.  Most weeks we will fill the bright red, 8-quart popcorn pot many times over with homemade popped corn.  It's the perfect snacky-snack comfort food and it's so yummy - and healthy - that it often gets requested for movie-nights, get-togethers and other relaxing times of fellowship.  Guests who taste it for the first time inquire, "What's in your popcorn that makes it taste so good!?"  A friend has even asked if I would make and sell her some every week.... (I have not acquiesced to the selling, but I do throw her a kernel or two now and again.) 

Old-fashioned popcorn (and subsequently vintage popcorn memorabilia) has popped its way into our home for years, even before the special recipe.  I remember my mom popping it on the stove and after she added the butter and salt, I was amazed and mesmerized that she could blend all the ingredients together by just tossing it all into the air in a rhythmic, carefree motion while holding the bowl firm and steady.  That tradition has continued.

Before I share the recipe and give you the step-by-step photo tutorial, there are a couple of important things to know that can make for a successful popcorn popping experience the old-fashioned way. 

  1. Have the right popcorn-popping pot
  2. Setting the proper temperature takes a little bit of practice, and it can vary if you have an electric or gas range.  (Not hot enough and the popcorn won't pop well.  Too hot and the popcorn will burn.)
  3. Using the right ingredients makes all the difference.

TOOLS:

  1. 3-4 Quart Popcorn Popping Pot
    I like a high quality stainless steel pot with a glass lid.  This helps me see how the popcorn is actually popping.
  2. 8 Quart or larger Popcorn Bowl
    (We designated a red, enameled pot with a a lid as our popcorn container.)
  3. Measuring container for butter 
  4. Measuring cups and spoons

INGREDIENTS:

  1. 3-4 Tablespoons, divided of Coconut Oil, Expeller Pressed (this has zero coconut flavor or smell)
    This brand of coconut oil is not available on Amazon.  Healthy Traditions is the best so you have to buy it direct.  We order it by the 1-gallon or 5-gallon containers.  Read their reviews and info; it's amazing!  We have used expeller pressed coconut oil in everything for years and years.  Again, positively no coconut flavor or smell with the expeller pressed kind.  (Who would want coconut flavor on their popcorn anyway?)

  2. Organic Popcorn, 1 cup, divided - because this recipe makes two 1/2-cup batches.

  3. 1/2 cup Butter, divided* (we use salted, but you can use unsalted, too)

  4. 1 to 1 1/2 tsp Sea Salt, divided (we like the pink Himilayan salt)

  5. Nutritional Yeast flakes, as much or as little as you would like

 

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We eat so much popcorn that we buy it in bulk and keep it stored on the counter in an antique glass jar.  (Really, Heinz Peanut Butter...?  Who knew?  But, the old jar makes the best popcorn storage!)

You can microwave the butter if you desire to melt it quickly, but we like to melt it on the stove-top as we prepare and wait for the popcorn to pop.

The best heat temperature on our range and with this pot is just below medium-low.  The flame is steady without going up the sides of the pot... but not too low.

 

This is about a 1 1/2 Tablespoons of expeller pressed coconut oil.

Begin by heating the pot and adding the oil to it along with five (5) lone popcorn kernels.

When the individual kernels are all popped, this is your immediate gauge to know the oil is hot enough to add the first half cup of popcorn kernels.

Pot is getting hotter, but we still need to wait for all five kernels to pop.

Once all five kernels have popped, add a half cup of popcorn kernels and swish the pot side-to-side to settle the popcorn into the hot oil.

Popcorn is beginning to heat up quickly.  Swish pot side-to-side a couple of times to keep kernels settled in hot oil.

Oops!  Looks like I put in slightly more than a half-cup.  Oh well... I just gently raise the lid as the popcorn pops, using the lid to secure and hold as many popped kernels as I can until the popping virtually stops.

POPCORN EARS:  This is where it will take listening practice.  Allow the popcorn to pop until the kernels drastically stall in their popping frequency... occasionally it will just stop altogether, but most times it's a random pop... or two... or three... or four at the end.  The goal is to get the pot immediately removed from the heat when the popping is finished, so the popcorn on the bottom does not burn.

This is our 8-quart Popcorn Pot.  As soon as the popcorn is removed from heat, it is immediately poured into the container.

Remember the butter melting slowly on the stove?  Drizzle half the melted butter all over the popcorn.  You can mix the buttered popcorn now if you would like, but we prefer to wait until we've added the nutritional yeast flakes and sea salt first.

Drizzle nutritional yeast flakes over the top of the popcorn.

This looks like it measures to about a half teaspoon of salt...?  Salt to taste, though, so whatever you are comfortable with sprinkling over the popcorn.

This is where the tradition of mixing up the popcorn continues .... just like the olden days when my mom would mix it for her children.

Make a second batch of popcorn with the remaining ingredients, repeating the steps above.

I'm now using the remaining melted butter to pour over the popped popcorn.

Sprinkle salt evenly over the popcorn.

Add nutritional yeast flakes again and begin mixing!

Even the puppy dog waits for a morsel to drop here and there.

Time to watch a movie and eat Pop's Delight Popcorn!