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Best Popcorn

r
randyjl Jul 22, 2008 08:37 PM

I am a popcorn addict! Where can I buy the absolute popcorn to pop at home? Microwave or non-microwave.

  1. v
    virtualguthrie Jul 22, 2008 09:53 PM

    I usually buy popcorn in bulk from a natural food store (usually the easiest place to find it in bulk). It's cheaper and generally of a higher quality than what you might find on the supermarket shelf.

    To my taste the best popcorn is made on the stove-top.
    -Cover a large thick-bottom pan with vegetable oil.
    -Put one kernel in, wait until it pops, then add the rest
    -I like my popcorn slightly scorched (I'm wierd) so I don't shake, but most people shake the pot vigorously when the popping slows a bit
    -melted butter, salt
    -I like to add nutritional yeast
    -It's also nice to add hot sauce to the butter when melting

    1. m
      maxim0512 Jul 23, 2008 10:42 AM

      I've tried a number of "better" popcorns, but so far, I haven't found anything that's really substantially better than Orville Redenbacher's. That said, Wabash Valley Farms sells a wide variety of popcorns in different colors and sizes, so it may be worth taking a look there. http://www.popcornpopper.com

      I've found that I get the best results when I cook popcorn in Wabash's Whirley Pop (stovetop cooker with a crank) and use peanut oil or their special "popcorn oil," which is a coconut oil-corn oil blend. (Messy, but delicious.) I also usually add butter-flavored popcorn salt (Flavacol). It comes out tasting almost exactly like movie theater popcorn when I use the special blend oil. I think they also sell essentially the same thing in little packets with just enough popcorn, oil, and salt to make a batch.

      1. thew Jul 23, 2008 10:53 AM

        popcorn, top me, has a better flavor from the stovetop - but i have to say - all popcorn is microwaveable

        2 Replies
        1. re: thew
          Boccone Dolce Jul 23, 2008 02:36 PM

          better flavor-and texture too, no? The micro-pop corn isn't as manly and robust as stovetop or kettle cooked. I REALLY got into kettlecorn when I first tried it. I have a deep, secret love affair with popcorn that I don't discuss with non-believers.

          I used to throw a hunk of butter in with the oil and cook it in a pressure cooker with a broken lid (it was all I had). I always shook the pan and sometimes added salt and pepper to the oil and butter too. And grated parm from the small, white buckets sold in the deli. Add a glass of wine (and I still like to eat it with chopsticks) and that's date night-no date required!

          Most movie theater popcorn blows. So does the kind you get prepopped in bags except for Smartfood. I used to always just buy whatever was on sale and use peanut oil.

          1. re: Boccone Dolce
            DoobieWah Oct 16, 2010 06:00 AM

            1. I am also a popcorn addict. My mother swears she ate it by the gallon when she was pregnant with me so she has always taken the blame. :-)
            2. Yes, I know I am replying to a two year old post.
            3. I truly and honestly believed that the pressure cooker with the blown out seal in the lid was my very own super secret method to great popcorn. It lets out just enough steam that the popcorn comes out crisp and airy.

            I've been using my ruined pressure cooker for almost 20 years for nothing but popcorn. I can't believe that all this time there was another...

        2. Chowpatty Jul 23, 2008 12:40 PM

          I disagree that you can get decent popcorn from a bulk bin or from Orville Redenbacher, neither is consistently good or fresh IMHO. I've resorted to mail order from Fireworks -- you only have to order once a year or so, and it's really worth it. I recommend the Savannah gold. Do not use the microwave, it's just as quick on the stove and tastes MUCH better. Make sure to use at least two to three tablespoons of peanut oil to pop it in.
          http://www.popcornlovers.com/

          4 Replies
          1. re: Chowpatty
            v
            virtualguthrie Jul 23, 2008 02:18 PM

            I'll have to politely disagree about not getting decent popcorn from a bulk bin. I do try to get it from a place that I know has good turnover to ensure it is fresh. However, now you've got me curious about mail-order stuff I must admit.

            1. re: virtualguthrie
              p
              ps2os2 Oct 15, 2010 11:26 PM

              i am going to have to disagree with people on this as well. I really do treasure Theater popcorn.
              I have bought coconut oil and the popped result was just like peanut oil. I bought at a online popcorn place (that supposedly sells to theaters) IT JUST DOES NOT taste like Theater popcorn. The closest I have ever come is TV Time popcorn but that company is long out of business. There is another company that does something similar to TV Time and that is oil in stick form and popcorn on the other side. NOPE I can make better with peanut oil.
              There has to be a trick to make theater style (tasting popcorn).

              1. re: ps2os2
                c
                Chowrin Jan 2, 2011 05:53 PM

                the stuff you get online has been banned in most movie theaters.

            2. re: Chowpatty
              t
              TarheelYankee Sep 10, 2008 10:59 AM

              after clicking on your link...right this very minute I'm trying to think of a place in my house for one of those commercial poppers, but it's got to be a place where my husband won't notice it... sigh

              mmmmmmmmm popcorn *hearts in eyes*

            3. m
              maestra Jul 23, 2008 12:41 PM

              Black Jewell brand is my fave. Most dark popcorns, whether blue, russet, or black have, in my opinion, superior flavor when compared to any yellow. Failing availability of those, I prefer white to yellow.

              1. Karl S Jul 23, 2008 03:41 PM

                Crown Jewel online. Of their varieties, Petite is superb, Southwest Gold is very good, and Fiery Garnet is the best big-popcorn variety I've had.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Karl S
                  l
                  LisaN Jul 24, 2008 04:00 PM

                  I agree with Crown Jewel. They have a great assortment pack. I just finished the last of my Fiery Garnet and want more, but need to use up some of the others first!!!

                  http://www.crownjewelgourmet.com/

                  1. re: Karl S
                    hondo77 Jul 29, 2008 08:42 AM

                    I'll third Crown Jewel. I get the 14-variety pack. Very yummy.

                  2. joshlane4 Jul 23, 2008 06:48 PM

                    I'm new to the stove top popcorn cooking game...what kind of pot do you use exactly?

                    (I don't have the room in my tiny kitchen for a separate pot!)

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: joshlane4
                      Chowpatty Jul 24, 2008 11:16 AM

                      You definitely don't need a separate pot. Just use one of your heavier saucepans, like a Calphalon. I have a stainless steel restaurant-supply style pan that doesn't work nearly as well as my faux-Calphalon from Ikea. If your popcorn is fresh and good quality you don't need to shake the pan and it pops up super fast, as fast as the microwave. I use two tablespoons of peanut oil and a third cup of popcorn because my heavy pan is fairly small. If you have a larger pan (about 5 quart?) then use three tablespoons of peanut oil and a half cut of popcorn.

                      1. re: Chowpatty
                        joshlane4 Jul 24, 2008 11:25 AM

                        probably a stupid question, but how do you keep it from popping all over your kitchen?

                        1. re: joshlane4
                          Karl S Jul 24, 2008 11:59 AM

                          If you have a splatter screen that covers the top, use that. You don't want a tight seal on the cover because you need to let the water vapor escape (condensation would otherwise drip back into the oil and the popped corn, a bad thing).

                          I myself loosely top the pot with paper towel and weigh it down with the cover askew, until the towel is oiled enough not to need the weight and just a cooking implement.

                          I prefer corn oil or grapeseed oil for popcorn. Never canola oil (gets a fishy taste over high heat).

                      2. re: joshlane4
                        hondo77 Jul 29, 2008 08:44 AM

                        I use a wok with a splatter screen.

                        1. re: hondo77
                          Karl S Jul 29, 2008 08:59 AM

                          That's actually my preferred route, too. The wok is great for popping popcorn.

                      3. k
                        kimberly13 Jul 23, 2008 06:54 PM

                        the best popcorn is the kind that you pop yourself. I just buy the store brand like foodlion or wal-mart brand and enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                        1. d
                          don515 Jul 23, 2008 07:53 PM

                          Stove top for sure. Just found some popcorn at Marshals or TJ Max White Cat label said recognized as one the best popcorn made. Wife is popcorn jukie and I agree best I've every had rest not even close..

                          dc

                          whitecatpopcorn.com

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: don515
                            c
                            crt Jul 24, 2008 04:24 PM

                            Call me old fashioned but I grew up with a father who always used Jolly Time. Popped in huge 'ol stainless steel pot, with a little corn oil added, on top of the stove. He never burnt a single kernel that I can ever remember. Must've been that constant shaking action of the pot. After popping, it was poured into this humongous orange and red 'made from fiberglass' salad bowl & drenched with (melted in the same pan) cholesterol level off the charts butter and lightly salted and then tossed. It was and remains to this day the best popcorn I ever ate. You can have all the high/over priced froo froo fancy brands, I'll take good 'ol Jolly Time any day of the week. Cooked right, nothing beats it.

                            1. re: crt
                              hondo77 Jul 29, 2008 08:47 AM

                              While I wouldn't say that nothing beats Jolly Time, it is very good. I had to switch over to the gourmet stuff full time, though, when my local Vons stopped carrying Jolly Time in favor of their generic brand, which is crap (and Orville isn't better than Jolly Time so no use buying that).

                              1. re: hondo77
                                natewrites Oct 16, 2010 08:44 AM

                                Jolly Time is so fun and retro. BTW, it's a blast to bring when you camping--right over the campfire it goes!

                          2. r
                            randyjl Jul 25, 2008 04:41 PM

                            Well, I thought I might get rec's for a great corn. I have tried most of the one's mentioned. White Cat Corn is still the best! It's very corny and pops up huge and fluffy in my Whirly Pop.

                            www.whitecatpopcorn.com

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: randyjl
                              JalamaMama Jul 25, 2008 09:29 PM

                              I cook my popcorn in a lidded pan, shake often, after popping has slowed a bit I tip the lid a bit and keep shaking. Pour into large bowl.

                              Toppings- melted butter AND

                              soy sauce
                              tabasco
                              parmasean
                              honey

                              lots of good salt. YUM.

                              Love to have kids over who have never seen it cooked on top of the stove- the look on their faces!

                            2. BombayUpWithaTwist Jul 28, 2008 09:15 PM

                              I love the popcorn that they sell at the Hollywood Bowl. They are the largest popping corn I've ever had with alot of flavor. Last night, I finally asked what they use and they said Pop Weaver. They are readily available as microwave popcorn, but I found a site that sells the kernal without having to buy 30 lbs. As a matter of fact, I just ordered some today, so I don't know how it will turn out, but am looking forward to my shipment.

                              I found it at Popcorn Supply Co
                              http://www.popcornsupply.com/Scripts/...

                              I've tried the Fireworks popcorn which I thought was good for gourmet ie. red, purple etc., but I was looking for popcorn that pops big.

                              I make popcorn in my All Clad and don't even have to shake it. I just don't put the lid on tight so the steam can escape.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: BombayUpWithaTwist
                                r
                                randyjl Aug 26, 2008 11:48 AM

                                I went to the website for Popcorn Supply. The shipping was more than the order! And I had to order 6# too. Let me know if it's worth the cost.

                                1. re: randyjl
                                  BombayUpWithaTwist Sep 8, 2008 01:56 AM

                                  Yes, I thought the shipping was expensive, but worth it since I got the Pop Weaver popcorn shipment. It really does pop up big! I even ordered a second batch of 4 - 2lb yellow kernels.

                                  I've became a little fanatical and also bought Topsit Butter Topping, Flavacol salt/butter flavor, and Naks Pop Coconut Oil Bars. Using all these ingredients makes the popcorn taste just like movie theater popcorn!

                                  There was another thread somewhere else about "what you are embarrased to buy at the market" and this would be my list. Thankfully, this is all mail order and noone else can see what I have purchased.

                                  If you live in the Los Angeles area, I noticed that Surfas sells some of the products I listed. They had a space for the Pop Weaver, but was out of stock when I was there last week.

                                  Also, when making the popcorn with the Flavacol I need to shake the pot to distribute the flavor.

                                2. re: BombayUpWithaTwist
                                  r
                                  randyjl Sep 10, 2008 10:43 AM

                                  I emailed Pop Weaver's and they said that their popcorn is available at WalMart and Albertson's under their house brands. I bought some and it is big, fluffy, and flavorful! And it's cheap! Thanks for all the ideas.

                                3. PegS Aug 26, 2008 12:01 PM

                                  Not the OP, but thanks for the popcorn recommendations.

                                  I've actually found that I don't need to shake the pot during cooking at all. I use a cheap but heavy pot, so the lid isn't air-tight. A light coating of oil on the bottom (right now we're using extra virgin olive oil, which doesn't make the popcorn taste like olive oil at all), one layer of popcorn, then I turn the stove to medium heat. If it seems like it's been too long since I hear the first pop I'll turn the stove up a bit higher. Then it's just a matter of listening to it the same way one listens to microwave popcorn; when the popping starts to slow I take it off the stove.

                                  What's great about the pot as well, is that after the popping I just throw in salt, put the lid back on, shake it in the air a few times, and voila!, well-salted popcorn without an extra bowl! ;-)

                                  1. l
                                    LisaN Dec 26, 2013 09:53 PM

                                    I know this thread is way old, but this year for Christmas I got popcorn from this website and its better than crown jewel. http://www.starvingfarmerpopcorn.net

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