Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Microwave Popcorn without the Chemicals

There is an article going around social media right now entitled "7 Foods You Should Never Eat"  by Prevention Magazine that lists foods that specialists in different jobs won't eat. The farmer won't eat corn fed beef, the Endocrinologist Won't Eat: Canned Tomatoes etc. One of the foods listed that has some lingering chemicals  I didn't know about was microwave popcorn. 

3. The Toxicologist Won't Eat: Microwave PopcornOlga Naidenko, is a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group.
The problem: Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans, according to a recent study from UCLA. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize--and migrate into your popcorn. "They stay in your body for years and accumulate there," says Naidenko, which is why researchers worry that levels in humans could approach the amounts causing cancers in laboratory animals. DuPont and other manufacturers have promised to phase out PFOA by 2015 under a voluntary EPA plan, but millions of bags of popcorn will be sold between now and then.
The solution: Pop natural kernels the old-fashioned way: in a skillet. For flavorings, you can add real butter or dried seasonings, such as dillweed, vegetable flakes, or soup mix.
Budget tip: Popping your own popcorn is dirt cheap
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/12/01/7-foods-should-never-eat/#ixzz1fo4wbEE3

I didn't know about the chemicals, but I don't eat microwave popcorn because of the salt and added calories from oil. Basically if I pop it myself without oil I can eat a whole bowl for a couple hundred calories instead of part of a bag of packaged micro popcorn for the same calories.

I know microwave popcorn is easy but there are easy ways to do it without prepackaged versions with "movie style butter."

Method 1: I use one of these bowls made specifically for popping popcorn kernels. Its a bowl... with a lid... that doesn't get too hot in the microwave and is shaped correctly to pop the popcorn. No oil needed. I find that I like to put the salt in the bowl with the kernels instead of putting it on later. It pops great and then if you want you can add real melted butter on to it or have it plain.

I have the cheap Nordic Ware one below but there are fancier ones. I may have to get the red one as mine is probably 5 years old and is getting discolored.

Method 2: You can also try popping your kernels in a paper lunch bag. Put 2 tbs popcorn in a lunch bag, roll up the end and pop in the microwave for about 2 minutes or until you stop hearing the popping. You can also add a tsp or more of oil into the bag if you like. The bag will get messy, but if you prefer it made with oil its worth it.

Method 3: Another option is an electric airpopper although not technically a microwave popper, it is a fast and healthy method.  I can remember as a kid in the 70's eagerly waiting for the popcorn to spit out of the machine before the Muppet Show started (Pigs in Space were my favorite).  They haven't changed much since the 70's, but every year they have a cute new model. This year I spotted the one below that mimics movie theater poppers.  --Nicole

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