Top Three Best Popcorn Poppers To Get It Poppin In 2014

If you’re here, then you’re one of millions of popcorn lovers. We understand that it can be difficult to know what popper is right for you. Since we’re all different, we all have different requirements and preferences, and the last thing you want to do is buy a popper that doesn’t perform the way you need it to.

We’ve hand-picked these three different models, and we found that THIS is the best popcorn maker ever made. we used a number of different criteria to make our selection. We made sure to check each model for consistency, safety, durability and uniqueness. After all, who wants a boring popper! The main purpose of this list is to help YOU – our readers! Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Pick #1

Our top pick was the Great Northern Popcorn Machine. Although the price is quite high for this product, we believe that it’s worth every penny. We’ve found that the more money you spend the quality of the product seems to increase exponentially, and this same logic applies to purchasing cheaper product, but that doesn’t mean we don’t endorse cheap Great Northern Popcorn Machineproducts!

This model really has EVERYTHING. It has all of the basic features that you need, but we believe it goes above and beyond and offers an entertaining experience. This is like the type of machine that you would find in a local movie theater, but in our opinion, it’s actually better looking.

It can make about three gallons per batch and has a reject kernel tray, which is extremely useful. However, it does use a substantial amount of electricity. This machine is SO neat that simply writing about it is a lot of fun. Let’s dive into the pros and cons.

PROs

We think the greatest benefit is the fact that it’s EXTREMELY fun to use. This is one of those appliances that stir up plenty of conversation with friends, family and guests. It’s really a lot of fun to use. Another advantage is that it will make your entire home smell like fresh butter, which is amazing!

As mentioned earlier, it makes an enormous, three gallons per batch. Your typical air popper cannot make anywhere near that amount. It has a powerful heat lamp that has no trouble keeping the finished product warm. Even the leftovers can be reheated and taste amazing.

When compared with some of the other models, this product is surprisingly easy to clean. It has a tray at the bottom of the machine, so it’s easy to take care of un-popped kernels. Also, the tray stays amazingly cool, so you don’t have to worry about getting burned.

CONs

The only real downside is the price. However, you should be able to get a decent discount on it. Some people don’t like that the measuring spoons that are included are somewhat flimsy and aren’t labeled. Another minor issue is the lack of instructions for how much oil and kernels should be used per batch, but this information is easy to find. Overall, this is the #1 pick on the list for several reasons. Most other consumers agree that this is a solid product, and you can get it for a great price right here.

 

PICK #2Waring Pro WPM25 Professional Popcorn Maker

Our second pick is the Waring Pro WPM25. The price on this model isn’t too bad, and while it’s still more expensive than many of the cheap, basic models, it’s about a third of the cost of our #1 pick.

This is a kettle-style device, and it can make a whopping 8 cups of goodness per batch. It basically looks like an old-fashioned machine, but it has a compact, modern feel to it. There is a very useful stirring mechanism built into it, and it has a pivoting kettle. The kettle is magnetized and detachable, and it’s very easy to clean. Let’s look at the pros and cons.

PROs

There are several reasons why this machine made #2 on the list. For starters, the plastic door casing is strong. The door also stays shut easily because it’s magnetized.

This particular model actually cooks very quickly, so although it doesn’t make a huge amount in a single batch, you can keep adding more and quickly fill the entire tray.

At only two minutes, the warm up time for this machine is amazing. It’s true that the casing is made of plastic. However, it’s feels like it’s worth the money, and it’s incredibly stable. Cleanup is also very easy.

CONs

Surprise – there aren’t many issues with this product. Unfortunately, the typical all-in-one packs are made for larger models, which means you could end up having to make a few more batches to satisfy a large family.

Overall, this is an excellent selection, and based on reviews, customer feedback, features and several other criteria, we chose this as our #2 pick. You can probably get the best price on it by going here.

PICK #3

Coming in at #3 is the West Bend 82306X Stir Crazy 6-Quart Popcorn Popper. This is the cheapest of the three, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t pack a punch. This model is almost West Bend 82306Xhalf the price of the #2 pick but has much to offer.

It has a motorized stirring rod built into it, which ensures all of the kernels pop. It can make six quarts over the span of about five minutes. It also has a built-in butter well, and who doesn’t want that?

The surface has a non-stick coating, and the handles and base are heat resistant, so you don’t have to worry about getting burned. The plastic cover also doubles as a serving bowl – how cool is that? Take that useless large ceramic bowl! Here are the pros and cons:

PROs

If you want a product that is a step above your basic poppers, then this is a great product. If you just want to get away from microwave use because of current health concerns, this popper can do it for you. Since this is a fairly basic machine, there isn’t too much to say about it.

You should know that it certainly does what it’s supposed to do –which is make delicious fluffy treats. Part of the joy of making this stuff is creating your own special recipe, which allows you to make your own flavor, and this machine allows you to do it.

The design is simple; it does its job and doesn’t have any serious issues. One of the major reasons why this model made the list while others didn’t is because it’s extremely durable. Some customers have gone through three or four of these machines and not because the machines stopped working.

Some people lost their machine during a move or for some other odd reason. We really love the simplicity of this model – make your favorite flavor; eat it; clean the popper. The cleanup only takes a minute or two.

CONs

There is only one minor with this model, and it involves the butter well. Some customers say it’s easier to melt butter in the microwave or in a pan. The butter well inside of the machine doesn’t exactly win any design awards so keep that in mind.

However, overall, this is a great produce, and it’s a step up from your basic, cheap poppers. It also has some additional features and seems to make the ‘perfect’ amount of your favorite treat in a single batch. Get a great price on it right here.

The Thrilling History Of Popcorn You Didn’t Know

If you’re here on this website, then there is a good chance that you eat this stuff at least once a week. Sadly, many people don’t wonder about the history of popcorn. This delicious treat has a history that is much more interesting that you would think.

How It All Started

It has been around for thousands of years, and people first started cultivating it at least a few thousand years ago. There is a place in the world called Peru – you’ve probably heard of it. This is where people first began cultivating it.

You probably didn’t know that it’s a form of corn, and it’s one of the oldest around. There is evidence of this buttery treat that dates back to 3600 B.C, and it was discovered in New Mexico. However, even older evidence has been discovered in, what is now, Peru.

the history of popcorn

It’s the history you NEED to know

Some of the evidence dates back to around 4700 B.C. Did you know that there is such a thing as purple popcorn? It was discovered sometime in the early 1900s.

There is an old legend that says English settlers learned of your favorite treat from Native Americans, and this myth has been proven to be wrong. Although it would make for an interesting story, there simply isn’t any colonial evidence to support this myth.

The Great Depression

You won’t believe how cheap it was during the great depression. If you guessed it was 5 to 10 cents per bag, then you were right! It’s hard to imagine ANYTHING being that cheap. Today, it’s easily over $1 per bag, with high-end brands costing even more money.

During the time of the great depression, businesses that made it actually flourished because it was so cheap, and put simply, people loved it! Many farmers were able to sell the product and stay afloat during this financial nightmare.

When World War 2 was happening, candy production almost came to a complete stop, and to compensate for the lack of candy eating, most people ended up eating about 3x as much of the product as they had been eating. In the Midwestern United States, there are six different localities that claim to be the popcorn capital of the world.

Specific Planting

Most people don’t know just how special it really is. The USSA says that the corn that is planted to make popcorn with is specifically planted for the sole purpose of making it. A large portion of the country’s popcorn comes from Indiana and Nebraska.

However, a lot of it also comes from Texas. Did you know that an elementary school project that took place in Illinois caused popcorn to become the official state snack for that state?

America’s Love for Popcorn

During the late 19th century and throughout the 20th century, this treat was extremely popular. It could be purchased near local theaters, street vendors and at parks.

Today, it can still be purchased from many different locations, but you just don’t see nearly as many street dealers who’re selling it.

Occasionally, you might see a street vendor parked outside of a large retail store. In the past and even today, the favorite location, for most people, to eat it is at the local movie theaters.

It’s very unlikely that this will change because there aren’t too many activities that are more enjoyable than a huge tub of buttery goodness while watching an exciting new movie. This is the history of your favorite snack, and although most people might not care about it, there is something special about it for us popcorn lovers.

Popular Places Where We Eat Popcorn And Scary Nutritional Facts

Most people know at least one place where popcorn is consumed. When you think about it, you probably think of a movie theater. It’s hard to go to the movie theaters and not buy a large tub of the good stuff.

The theaters really know what they’re doing, and they have no problem selling us more than we need. However, there are many other places where it’s eaten, so don’t think the local theater is the only place.

How it’s served

where we eat popcorn

Doesn’t that look yummy?

If you’ve been to the theater lately, then there is a good chance you know just how much butter and salt goes into an average tub of movie theater product. The stuff in a movie theater is almost always served sweetened or salted.

When you buy it in North America, it’s usually salted because there is no denying that us Americans have to have our salt. Some public establishments serve it with spices and toffee. It’s not uncommon for sweetened versions to be served, and two of the major sweetened versions are kettle and caramel corn.

If you visit the United Kingdom anytime soon, you will likely find ready-made product that is sweetened with sugar or salt. Many people like to purchase caramel popcorn while they’re staying in the UK, but this type of popcorn can be very expensive.

Peru is another location where there is no shortage of people who love this stuff. The product that is served in Peru is commonly sweetened with condensed milk or candy pellets. However, everywhere else it is served with salt and butter. Have you ever wondered what it tastes like in Mexico?

A lot of popcorn in Mexico is actually served with salt, butter, cheese, hot sauce or jalapeno juice. You can find people eating it in cinemas and sporting events, and it’s a treat that has been served at these various events since 1914.

In the 1800s, many Americans actually consumed popcorn as a breakfast cereal. This cereal was comprised of milk, popcorn and sweetener. In the early 20th century, many people ate a treat called P balls, which was popped kernels that were stuck together with sugary glue. In many places, it’s still served as a Halloween treat.

The Nutritional Value

If you eat a lot of it, then you’ve probably wondered about its nutritional value. With tons of salt and butter, most people would imagine it to be extremely unhealthy, but it really comes down to how it’s prepared.

We all know that the massive amounts of butter and salt in movie theater options aren’t healthy but what about the small batch of unsalted stuff we make at home? Studies show that air-popped varieties are actually healthy for you. They’re rich in antioxidants and dietary fiber. Air-popped versions are also very low in fat and calories and have little to no sodium or sugar.

For people who have many dietary restrictions, a small batch of air-popped goodness can be a great treat. To increase the flavor, many companies add massive amounts of sodium, sugar and fat to the product they sell, and this is notoriously unhealthy for most people.

It was in the mid-1990s when the first example of this unhealthy option was born. During this time, the Center for Science in the Public Interest released a special report, which illustrated the poor health benefits of ‘movie popcorn’.

Creative Past And Present Popcorn Cooking Methods

If you love popcorn, then you probably like to cook it. While there aren’t too many different core methods for cooking our fluffy friends, there are enough cooking methods to keep us entertained for years to come!

A lot of people like to cook it on a stove-top or in a pot, and in most cases; this cooking is performed in the kitchen. Some diehard fans actually have their own machine inside their bedroom, so they can cook their favorite kernels whenever they’re in the mood.

Commercial Cooking

common popcorn cooking methods

Mmm…the good stuff

The stores are packed with many types, and these are examples of commercial cooking. The companies that produce store-bought bags use special machinery.

The first-ever machines made specifically to cook your favorite snack were invented in 1885. It was in 1893 that a man named Charles Cretors introduced his very own popping machine. The event was called the Columbian Exposition, which was a sort of world fair.

At the same time, another man invented molasses-flavored, candied corn, and this was the first caramel corn ever made. You’re probably aware of the delectable treat called Cracker Jacks. Well, the original recipe for this treat was an altered version of the first-ever candied variety.

Stream-Driven Popcorn

Don’t you want to know how Cretor’s machine works? It was actually patented and powered by stream. It was what you would call a steam-driven machine. It uses oil to force kernels to pop.

Before the introduction of this revolutionary machine, vendors had to hold a wire basket over an open flame, which produced a dry, hot and unevenly cooked product. The machine that Cretor made used a special mixture, which was two-thirds lard, one-third clarified butter and salt.

This special mixture was used because it was able to withstand over 450 degrees of heat. This was the temperature that was needed to make everything perfect. The earliest model of this machine produced a little bit of smoke.

How Cretor’s Machine Works

The machine had a boiler, and there was a fire under the boiler, which was needed to produce steam. The steam created in the boiler was used to drive an engine.

The role of the engine was to drive the agitator, shaft and gears, which stirred the corn. The engine was also used to power a little puppet-like contraption, which was used for amusement. The machine was designed to allow the vendor to dump popped product into a storage bin while the engine continued to run.

Exhaust produced by the machine was ran through piping and used to keep the product hot. Any excess steam that was produced was used to power a whistle, and the whistle was used by the vendor to attract customers.

How Does It Work Today?

Today, if you ever visit China, you might see some similar popping machines on the streets. The machine that you might see on the streets of China has a cast-iron canister, which is sometimes called a hammer, and the hammer is sealed with a very heavy lid and turned slowly over a small curbside fire. Think rotisserie chicken.

There is a pressure gauge connected to the canister, and when the pressure reaches the ideal level, the vendor removes the canister from the fire. The reason why this method is so cool is because it causes all of the kernels to pop in a single explosion. After the kernels pop, the vendor lifts the lid and pours all of the popped product into a sack for the customer.

Modern Appliances

These days, you have the option of buying a personal popper, and this device is specifically created for popping your own stuff. Most personal poppers do not produce a yield larger than a single gallon, but that amount is more than enough popcorn for a single person.

One of the cheapest and most popular types of popper is called an air popper, and it circulates hot air until all of the kernels pop.

Other types of machines allow you to put some oil or butter into the popper, which facilitates the process. Now that you know some of the past and present popcorn cooking methods, it’s time to purchase your own popper and make your own batch of yummy!

A Look At How Popcorn Pops – The Secret Mechanism

Have you ever wondered how popcorn pops? There is actually a popping mechanism, and unless you’ve bothered to watch it pop with a special type of camera, there is a good chance that you don’t know how it works. Although it might seem mysterious, the popping process is actually very simple.

How Popcorn Pops

It’s important to understand that every kernel contains oil and moisture. Popcorn is actually a type of grain, but it’s different from other grains because it has a hull that is both impervious to moisture and very strong.

how popcorn pops

Look at this popcorn!

Also, the starch found inside of the hull is made almost exclusively of very dense material. So, what happens when you apply heat? When intense heat is applied to the kernels, the water and oil around the hull cause the moisture inside of the kernel to transform into a pressurized and superheated steam.

These extreme conditions cause the starch inside of the kernel to soften and gelatinize, which forces the kernel to become pliable. As pressure continues to build, the hull will eventually reach its breaking point.

This level of pressure ends up being about 135 PSI, and the temperature rises to about 180 degrees Celsius. The kernel’s hull ends up rupturing, and the rupture process takes place extremely rapidly, which causes a massive release of pressure from the inside of the kernel.

As the hull ruptures, the proteins and starch also expands rapidly, and this result is airy foam, which ends up being the fluffy white part that we all know and love. The reason why the starchy mixture goes from liquid to the fluffy material is because it cools very rapidly. There are some varieties that are made for improved yield.

The Expansion Process and Yield

Although this title might sound slightly boring, it’s really an interesting process. The popping results that you get from a batch are dependent on how quickly the kernels are heated.

If you were to heat the kernels too quickly, it would cause the hull to rupture before the starch in the center of the kernel has a chance to gelatinize. This results in kernels that are only partially popped and hard centers.

However, if you heat the kernels too slowly, you’ll basically end up with un-popped kernels. Whoever said popping the stuff  isn’t hard work! When you heat kernels too slowly, steam can escape out of a tiny opening in the tip before it ever has a chance to build up enough to rupture the hull.

How to Determine Quality?

Have you ever wondered what sets OK product apart from GREAT popcorn? The two major factors that are used to determine quality is the percentage of kernels that actually pop and how much each kernel expands. Both vendors and consumers should care about how much kernels are able to expand. Consumers like bigger pieces because they’re normally a lot more tender and tasty than smaller kernels that have minimal expansion.

Vendors, distributors and growers care about how much kernels expand because it affects their profits. An establishment like your favorite movie theater purchases kernels based on their weight and sells the finished product based on volume.

For example, the theater sells small, medium and large tubs, and this type of pricing is based on volume, so it makes sense why establishments like movie theaters and circuses care about kernel expansion. It’s possible to make it pop if it has been freshly harvested, but unfortunately, it doesn’t pop well.

The high moisture content in freshly harvested product doesn’t produce great expansion and causes the finished product to be chewy. All kernels that have very high moisture content are vulnerable to mold growth. This is why distributors and growers dry their product until it reaches the ideal moisture content that guarantees great expansion.

Most growers aim to sell their product when it reaches a moisture content of about 15 percent by weight. However, it’s possible for kernels to become too dry, and like too much moisture content, a kernel that doesn’t have enough moisture content will not pop very well.

In the industry, the leftover kernels that don’t pop when you apply heat to them are called old maids. These kernels normally don’t pop because they simply don’t have enough moisture content in them. Kernels that don’t have enough moisture in them can be hydrated before popping, which almost guarantees they will pop.

The SHOCKING Health Benefits Of Popcorn

Recent studies show that popcorn might just be a bit healthier than we originally thought. In fact, it’s the hull that is said to contain many nutritional qualities. Does that mean we should all go prepare a bowl immediately?

It’s important to understand that it’s only really healthy if you don’t drown it in salt, oil and butter. After hearing that, the majority of the people reading this just went “shoot!” For most people, salt butter and oil are the ingredients that make it such an enjoyable treat, but wait – there is hope for all of us kernel lovers.

The Tests

health benefits of popcorn

Mmm Popcorn

At the University of Scranton, PA, a group of researchers conducted several tests, and they analyzed the content of many popular varieties. They discovered that the hull is actually filled with plenty of polyphenols, which are antioxidants.

In fact, the polyphenols are responsible for protecting your body’s cells from damage and can also fight back harmful diseases. Basically, the majority of the nutritional benefits are found inside of the hull.

We all know and love the white, fluffy part, but unfortunately, this isn’t where the nutrients are contained. However, since you always eat the entire piece and not just the fluffy part, you get to enjoy the health benefits contained within the hull!

Go ahead and pat yourself on the back. The senior researcher who presented these results has also studied cereals, spices, coffee and chocolate. The concentrations of antioxidants are found in the hull because popcorn is 100 percent whole grain and has minimal water.

The Conclusion

We’ve established that it has plenty of fiber and antioxidants, so by now, you’re ready to go fire up a bag of your favorite movie theater variety. However, it’s not quite that cut and dry.

Since most kernals are covered in oil, salt and butter, their benefits are slightly negated. When you want to keep it healthy, preparation is crucial. You want to avoid drenching it in butter and salt. It’s perfectly fine to spray a bit of butter and oil on your popcorn but go easy on it.

How Do I Prepare It

A lot of people want to make one of America’s favorite snacks, but they don’t want it to be unhealthy. Many people have tried making it with extra virgin olive oil, and unfortunately, this isn’t the healthiest way to do it. When you heat olive oil, you damage its antioxidant structures, so you want to avoid heating healthy oils.

A healthy way to do things would be to pop the product in a home popper, and you can add EVOO to it that way. We like to add a tiny bit of sea salt to our air-popped treat, but it’s really up to you.

To be on the safe side and to keep calories low, you should avoid adding any more than two tablespoons (one ounce) of olive oil. Some people believe that microwaving is a good idea, and although it’s quite easy to do, we think it’s best to stay away from that kind of food preparation.

We’ll do a write up about the dangers of using microwaves in the near future, so for now, stick with a personal popper and go easy on the toppings if you want to keep it healthy.