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Date: 12 December 2015. Popcorn for One (and Stone-wave Update)

THE NEW MECHANIC IS ABOARD RIGHT NOW!!!
Life is great afloat and more on Paul is upcoming.



I love my new microwave. I'm definitely well on the way to a popcorn addiction. The problem is the container for cooking. In that regard I went through a few versions before I found perfection. There's nothing like a bowl of fresh hot popcorn and a movie or three in the afternoon...

 I tell you this all the time because it's true: Life afloat is wonderful.

DVDs are great and popcorn is the perfect accompaniment. I've made it for years on the stove. That is good too. It leaves me with a pan to wash plus a bowl. In the interest of saving water (you can roll your eyes here) and speed (when the girl is hungry feed her) ... well, I wanted microwave popcorn.

I also did not want to pay retail prices for those little packages of popcorn laden with chemicals and salt sold at grocery stores. So I looked into my galley supplies and started the testing process. It required me to eat bowl after bowl of popcorn. That was wonderful.
 

 

Tina on Oremae taught me the joys of making popcorn on the propane stove using bacon grease. That adds a tasty flavor. What's not to like about bacon!?! There's more about our fun popcorn and movie afternoon in the Glasses article.

 

Oremae is a Morgan41 ketch:

 


With a microwave I wanted popcorn in a minute, with minimal cleanup. First I took a small plastic bowl that I had been using as a lentil growing container. The
Growing Lentil Sprouts article gives details on the original purpose for the plastic bowl.
 

 

I remembered from my days of cooking on the stove and using those Jiffy Pop pans that a hole was in the top for steam to escape. The lentil container seemed perfect. It was not. Here's what happened.

 
 

The problem soon became evident. The heat was too much for the plastic container. Unpopped kernels melted holes in the bottom of the bowl.

My first attempt (no pictures) was with a regular plastic container from Philadelphia Cream Cheese. The one in these pictures says it is microwave safe on the bottom.

The bowl may have been fine for reheating. The top warped and cracked. All in all, this bowl did not work for popcorn. Argh!

 

 


Next I went to Walmart and looked for a ready-made microwave popcorn maker. I found the smallest available unit by Nordic ware. It looked large and was indeed too big for my 700watt Rival. This is the one I bought and returned:
 

 Affiliate link
Nordic Ware Quick Pop Single Serve Popper


The Nordic did not fit into my oven. It is almost the size of a basketball. Though called a single-serving the five to seven cups would have been excessive for me. I prefer smaller batches so the popcorn is hot.

Dimensions 8.5" x 8.5" x 6.5"


From the reviews of the Nordic and others offered on Amazon I reasoned the issues with the poppers were twofold:

  1. The wattage of ovens makes precise directions nearly impossible

  2. The freshness (moisture content) of the popcorn plays into how well it pops

My cheap plastic bowls had failed. The proper popcorn maker did not fit in my microwave. I had a quandary that needed resolution. There's something rather decadent about enjoying fresh hot popcorn while watching a movie on the boat. I am truly blessed.

Because I still had not gotten to the thrift store to donate my Stone-Wave microwave bowl I pulled it out for another go round. When push came to shove, I knew I had a solution on hand. In the Stone-Wave Sticks article I described the down side. The main point I needed to remember is that the stone-wave bowl cooked my popcorn to perfection.

I was trying to reinvent the wheel. Argh!!!
 

 
A bit of of coconut oil is in the bottom.

Nuked for 3.5 minutes in my 700 watt oven

 


Voila. One bowl of perfectly popped popcorn. Now my initial objection still holds true. The handle is hot. That's why pot-holders were invented. I'm pleased especially since I checked out alternatives and found them wanting.

Side Note: When I open a new bag of popcorn I test the timing and listen for when it stops. According to reviews on Amazon fresh popcorn has a higher moisture level and thus pops better.

My friend Tom on S/V Gone Tropic says that when he was on ships popcorn was a hot topic. Experiments were made. The Best Results came from popcorn poured into a coke bottle. Add water. Shake. Rinse. Store in refrigerator for a day or three. Then pop.

Taking heed of the reviews on Amazon for other popcorn poppers I tried again. And lo and behold I did have success.

Of course popcorn isn't popcorn without seasoning. In that regard there are choices.
 


Years ago I was on a Molly McButter kick and at some point simply stopped buying it. I'm not sure why anymore. When I started on my popcorn binge I knew just what I needed and headed to the grocery store. At the store folks were adamant that Molly was better than Butter Buds so I bought a container. It was super!

Then the thrifty part of my psyche raised her head and said "but there's more in the Butter Buds shaker" and you really should try it. I did. It's not that it's bad: Butter Buds is not awful. It's simply not as good as Molly McButter on popcorn in my opinion.

However the Prepper in me also knew that there was a dehydrated butter product by Hoosier Hill Farm. I had been hankering to try it. If the Premium Butter Powder would be better I could save money by making my own concoction. So I bought some to try.
 


I bought a pound container and gave it a go. It's wonderful but not salty of course. Plain butter is not salted and this is just butter. However, with a smidgen of my other favorite seasoning I have a perfect popcorn topping. My favorite of all time on everything from meat to clam chowder is Nature's Seasons by Morton.

In any event, this is probably far more than you ever wanted to know about Popcorn for One.
 

 

The Seasoning Options (Amazon Affiliate links)

 
 

One more thing about the Butter Powder shown on the far right... as per reviews read and personal experience it's best to put the powder into a shaker. I used an empty Molly McButter container and it is working very well. Although it is recommended that you mix it with water to form butter I do not do so. Instead I simply sprinkle some on as a flavor enhancement. Over steamed asparagus, there's nothing better. Enjoy!

 


My decision has been made. I'll keep and use my Stone-Wave bowl. It's earned a place aboard Seaweed.

If you're ever aboard in the afternoon popcorn is just 3.5 minutes away. Life is very good afloat.

Are you a microwave popcorn fan, or do you do-it-yourself on the stove?
And, if in the nuker, what do you use as the cooking container? 

COMMENTS:
 

Categories: Boats, Characters, Galley, Recipes, Recommendations

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