Saturday, April 4, 2009

making popcorn in a paper bag

i need snacks in my house. and, i mean need. what can i say i am a snack girl. for me, this means pretzels, fruit, peanut butter, and popcorn. don't think i'm a good girl all the time when it comes to snacking, but these are my go tos. recently, as part of our weekly shopping at the dollar store which includes such essentials as imitation bacon bits, laundry detergent(ok, so the making of my own laundry detergent never gained traction as i was unable to find some of the necessary ingredients.), and pretzels, we have often added microwave popcorn. but, even at $1 for several packs, i have become convinced there was a cheaper way that maintained the convenience of microwave bagged popcorn. you see i am the kind of slob that eats right out of the bag when i have no guests to avoid having any dishes to clean up. and even though it has been a few years since the microwave popcorn scandal of popcorn lung being caused by diacetyl, the idea of being able to avoid that can't be a bad thing.
so, i when to instructables.com which always seems to have great hacks for just about everything from food to decorating. and, of course, they had multiple simple tutorials for making microwave popcorn with a brown paper bag. here is the original tute i used from instructables. as always, i made my own modifications.

you will need:
  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels-the instructions said you can get about 50 uses out of a 1 lb bag. i didn't believe this was possible until i saw what a little dent the 1/4 cup made out of the bag. and, in terms of cost, i purchased a 2lb bag of generic brand popping kernels at my local grocery for $1.59.
  • 1 tsp of oil-the instructions say olive oil, but i come from the make it work school of thought. so, i used whatever we happened to have.
  • salt-the instructions insisted on popcorn salt, but i did not see any in my store. so, i used kosher salt which is what we keep in our kitchen. old bay(i grew i virginia on the water, and we put old bay on any and everything. don't believe me, then try utz's crab chips. they rock my world.)or seasoned salt should also work just fine.
  • a brown paper bag-my dollar store carries a 50 pack for $1, but i managed to forget them on my last trip. i just used a carryout bag from a local restaurant. it may have been a little big as you may notice in the pictures, but it was better than nothing.
  • something to fasten the bag-here is where i parted way with the instructions. i know it says stapling the bag will not cause sparks. i,however, decided to err on the side of being cautious. i happened to have a chip clip which is completely made of plastic even the spring mechanism. if you don't have such a chip clip, you could always use a bit of scotch tape.
  • seasonings such as butter, parmasen cheese(and, i mean the stuff in the green can for this as it really is yummy on popcorn), sugar(approxiamately 2 tbps will make your popcorn into kettle corn but you need to omit the salt), jello(may sound a bit odd at first, but fruit flavored popcorn was something we had as kids and loved especially since it made the popcorn really cool colors), cinnamon, or butter buds.

place your 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels and oil into your brown bag. shake up to coat the kernels with oil. fasten the bag. place in microwave, and set for the same time as you would in your microwave as you would for normal microwave popcorn. mine takes about 3 and 1/2 minutes. listen for the popping to slow down so you can count to about 3 seconds between pops. remove popcorn and season with your choice of seasonings and enjoy.

here is my finished popcorn in the overly large bag.

and, a closeup of the popcorn.

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