Is microwave popcorn a healthy snack?
Popcorn is a whole grain. The light, fluffy kernels are naturally low in fat and calories and a great source of fiber. Because the water content is low, popcorn is also a significant source of polyphenols. A single serving contains about 300 mg. That's more than many fruits and vegetables.
There are many sound reasons to choose microwave popcorn over other crunchy snacks. But like most popular treats, the potential impact on your health depends on the ingredients in the package. At CVS, you'll find several popular brands, including Skinny Pop®, ACT II®, and Orville Redenbacher's®. As you browse your options, you'll see just how appealing microwave popcorn [hyperlink to https://www.cvs.com/shop/content/microwave-popcorn] can be when it's preservative-free, made with simple ingredients, or features chemical-free packaging.
How do I make microwave popcorn?
Making microwave popcorn is easy. But if you pass over the manufacturer's popping instructions, you could easily end up with a bag of under popped or scorched kernels. One of the biggest mistakes less-experienced poppers make is trusting the "popcorn" feature on their microwave oven.
Instead, set your timer as directed by the manufacturer (possibly 2-4 minutes). Before you place the bag in your microwave, remove the protective outer wrapper. Then unfold the bag and place it with the correct side facing upward. Rather than walking away, stop your microwave oven when the popping slows to 1-2 seconds between "pops."
Does microwave popcorn expire or go bad?
Microwave popcorn tends to "go bad" faster than a container of plain popcorn kernels. The oil, seasonings, and buttery flavoring agents limit the shelf-life of the corn. Although a forgotten box of microwave popcorn may be safe to eat for a short time after the "best before" or "best by" date stamped on the box, there are no guarantees.
The date printed on the packaging tells you how long to expect your snack to remain fresh and flavorful. If you happen to pop a bag of microwave popcorn that's past its prime, you'll likely discover that fewer kernels pop. If the oil has gone bad, you might also notice an unpleasant flavor, odd aroma, or strange texture. Freezing individual packages will not extend their shelf-life.
Can I use microwave popcorn to make kettle corn?
You can easily use microwave popcorn to make a simplified version of this centuries-old treat at home. Start by placing ¼ cup of granulated sugar in a heavy saucepan on medium heat. Shake the sugar in the pan every few minutes.
Within 10-15 minutes, the granulated sugar will begin to smell like caramel. At that point, add ¼ cup of butter to the pan and whisk until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Then add about 10 cups of popped microwave popcorn, stir until evenly coated, and sprinkle with salt.
If you've been craving the distinctive flavor of kettle corn but are short on time, you still have options. Many popcorn companies offer microwaveable versions of the sweet, salty treat. Just read the instructions printed on the box, set your timer, wait for the popping to slow, and enjoy.