Popcorn is an enduring family favorite. From ball games to holiday season, a bowl of freshly popped corn, gleaming with butter, smelling sweetly of a range of other toppings, will go down well with all ages,
Popcorn, perhaps more than any other food, is a food of memory. Whether it's childhood birthdays when the circus came to town, movie night, or families gathered together for the World Series, popcorn is the ultimate comfort food.
Mainly made in the American Mid-West, and a staple offering from self-sufficient communities such as the Amish, popcorn is American through and through.
When you're making popcorn, you're looking for large, light, fluffy results, with just a little bit of chew, and enough substance to hold any toppings – such as caramel, chocolate, maple syrup, butter, or salt – you may choose to add.
While some people will always go for the convenience and cheapness of ready-made popcorn, the true gourmet can't help but pop their own corn, in their own way, and add their own unique flavoring, to create the ultimate snack. (Here's our guide to using a popcorn maker.)
Popcorn brings family and friends together, and also completes a night of “me-time”, when you're snuggled under the duvet with just the television and snacks for company, and loving every minute of it. You never outgrow popcorn, and it always reminds you of the very best moments of your childhood.
Our reviews below will ensure you have the best popcorn experience, and that your snack soothes your present circumstances, evokes memories of happy, carefree childhood, and enhances your parties, date nights, and quiet times.
Top Five Gourmet Popping Corn Kernels
When you're making popcorn from scratch, you're looking for kernels that will give you a large, light, fluffy end result, which is still substantial enough to hold any seasonings you may add, and has just a little bit of chew to it. After all, no one wants to feel as though they've spent their money on air.
Much of the memories associated with popcorn are evoked by the smell, rather than the popcorn itself. There should be a hint of butter, a tang of salt, and, rising above everything else, that inviting warmth that whispers of childhood happiness.
Amish County Baby White Popcorn Kernels are small, white-grain, virtually hull-less kernels, which produce small, soft popcorn with a distinctive flavor. The small size of the popped corn, whilst disappointing to some people, is ideal for elder persons who have difficulty chewing, and ensures that even young family members – who may not have their teeth yet! - can be included.
The Amish County baby white kernels make excellent popcorn on the stove or in the microwave, but are not suitable for air poppers.
Amish County offer a range of pack sizes, as well as a range of grains and flavors, so there will be something for everyone. And, if the pre-packed corn doesn't cater to your tastes, you can always buy the kind of flavor you like, and add to your freshly popped corn.
If you are adding toppings to Amish County kernels, it is recommended to do so as soon as the popcorn is done. The heat will help the flavor absorb, and will also create that special, unique “popcorn” smell.
Hoosier Hill Farm Gourmet Mushroom Popcorn doesn't, in fact, pop into the “distinct mushroom” shape that is promised. It does, however, produce pop corn which is much larger than most other brands, including store-brought. This does, of course, mean you might want to buy more kernels to start with – just to ensure that extra large serving bowl you have will have enough for everyone, and not be taken up with a few handfuls of jumbo pop corn!
Hoosier Hill's corn kernels are grown and packaged in North East Indiana, and are healthier than other snacks, including store-brought popcorn, as the corn contains a naturally high level of antioxidants. We do feel obliged to point out, however, that these benefits probably won't survive dousing your finished pop corn in butter, caramel flavoring, or salt – but don't let that warning stop you!
Hoosier Hill's popping corn kernels are suitable for making popcorn on the stove, or in an air popper.
Fireworks Popcorn 10-variety Case (15oz bottles of corn kernels) makes an ideal gift for the popcorn aficionado in your life, or even a little treat for yourself. It is important to be aware that, as there are two bottles of one of the varieties of kernels, the case only actually contains nine separate, distinct kernel varieties.
However, as each fifteen-ounce bottle should provide two generous servings of popcorn, nine bottles should be more than enough to keep you entertained for a while, and introduce you to your perfect flavor of popped corn.
The corn kernels provided in this selection are all 100% natural, and the bottles are made of recyclable plastic – so you can nourish your appetite and the environment!
Suitable for air poppers only, it has been commented that the kernels produce odd-sized popcorn, but this shouldn't affect the overall taste. And, after all, you're eating the end result, not entering it for an art award! If anyone comments, just tell them it's “Popcorn, in abstract.” They might even be impressed.
As each bottle offers a unique flavor, the Fireworks Variety Case is the ultimate step up from store-brought popcorn the world of gourmet popcorn, with its varieties of textures, flavors, and potential seasonings. There's as much potential for in-depth involvement in the world of gourmet popcorn as there is in wine, but without the potential liver damage and hangovers – and at considerably less expense.
Another ideal gift purchase, Riehle's Select Gourmet Popcorn Sampler offers a variety of 12 150z bottles.
All corn used is GMO free, so you know you and your family are enjoying a healthy, natural snack.
These kernels do produce small-sized corn when popped, which can be a little chewy for some tastes, and also doesn't hold or absorb seasonings, such as butter and caramel, particularly well.
Offering wholly unique blends, the Riehle's Sampler, purchased with the Fireworks Variety Case, is likely to go down well with the friend or family member who has, so far, only encountered store-brought popcorn. And, once they've identified their favorite flavor, your gift-buying is taken care of whatever the occasion!
Finally, Franklin's Gourmet Movie Theatre Popcorn comes in handy, single-use servings. Whatever you're not using this time around can safely be frozen, or stored in the refrigerator, ready for the next time you fancy a quick, easy, and healthy snack. And with 24 pre-measured servings of popcorn per pack, you can be safely assured you're not going to run out too soon! Franklin's Movie Theatre Popcorn is vegan-friendly, gluten free, dairy free, and kosher, so it truly is the snack the whole neighborhood can enjoy – always assuming you want to share! Just like the movie theatres of your childhood, Franklin's popcorn kernels produce large, buttery, salty popcorn. Some people may find the salt a little excessive – but it should wash down just fine with your favorite soda.