Contrary to popular belief, popcorn poppers produce healthier fare because
they use less oil and preservatives than prepackaged popcorn. Popcorn poppers
can also cut costs for consumers in the long run, because experts say it's
less expensive to pop corn at home than to buy prepackaged/microwavable popcorn.
What type of popcorn popper you select is a purely a matter of personal
choice. Calorie-conscious consumers may opt for a hot air or microwave popper
(which can be used with or without oil), while those looking for a richer,
buttery flavor may gravitate toward electric or stovetop poppers. Here are
some additional things to keep in mind before you buy a popcorn popper:
- No popper is completely safe. All
of these products generate steam, which can cause burns. Many plastic
popcorn poppers also heat up more intensely in the microwave -- more so
than a user may anticipate. The bottom line: Handle these products with
- The right
temperature is key. According to experts, high heat toughens popcorn,
while low heat makes for smaller, drier popcorn. If you're using a stovetop
popper, medium heat is best. Likewise, experts advise starting with the
lowest heat setting and gradually increasing time and temperature when
using microwave poppers to find an optimal setting. Electric and hot air
poppers -- which are simply plugged in or turned on -- have automatic temperature
control, leaving less margin for human error.
- Cut calories by using less oil. Reviewers
say if you're popping with oil, you can usually get away with using
less than the directions indicate.
- Experiment with flavorings. Craving
a low-calorie but highly flavored snack? Try adding cayenne pepper,
herbs or hard grated cheese to air-popped popcorn.