July 25, 2008
Popcorn: A Whole Grain Snack
There's so much more to topping popcorn than a little salt. Even butter by itself is boring. And adding plain old Parmesan cheese? Please.
According to The Popcorn Board, a non-profit organization founded in 1998 on behalf of the United States popcorn industry, out of the four most common types of corn - sweet, dent, flint and popcorn - only popcorn pops. Inside each kernel of popcorn is a drop of water surrounded by starch. When heated, the water expands and causes the popcorn's hull to burst, inflating the starch into a puff of popcorn.
A whole grain, popcorn by itself is a nutritious snack. Recent studies have shown that people who regularly ate popcorn had about 250 percent more whole grains and about 22 percent more fiber in their daily diet than those who did not eat it regularly.
There are several ways to complete the popping process, some more nutritious than others. Air popping without oil is the healthiest. A more flavorful option is to use a little bit of healthy oil such as canola oil, which provides healthy fats and is not as expensive as olive oil and other types of oil.
Now that you have healthier popcorn as your base, there's a little more room to experiment on toppings without ruining your waistline during bathing suit season.
Try these recipes from The Popcorn Board:
Sugar and Spice Popcorn
2 quarts air-popped popcorn
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Butter-flavored cooking spray
Combine brown sugar, chili powder, paprika and cumin in a small bowl and mix well. Place cooked popcorn in a bowl; spray lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with spice mixture. Toss to mix until kernels are coated.
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried mixed Italian herbs (or use fresh herbs: rosemary, basil, oregano)
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 cups air-popped popcorn
½ cup pine nuts
In a food processor or blender, combine the first four ingredients. Process to form a paste. In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in tomato paste. Mix well. Drizzle over popcorn and toss to coat evenly. Toss in pine nuts. Serve immediately.
Posted by Lisa at July 25, 2008 7:08 AM
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