Yes, you can make your own kettle corn at home, no special equipment necessary, no heroic clean-up measures required.
Buy your popcorn, oil, sugar, and salt in bulk and you’ll avoid all plastic packaging – It’s a Treat Less Plastic! Not entirely a healthy treat, but what’s a childhood or life in general without the occasional handful of crunchy-salty-sweet kettle corn?
What you’ll need:
- Large pot with a lid.
- Hot stove (or a campfire, if you’re daring).
- Large bowl.
- 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels.
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup sugar, to taste. The pale beige organic sugar crystals will give you a see-through coating on the kernels that tastes like the kettle corn from the fair. Sucanat or rapadura will give you a mildly caramel-flavored brownish kettle corn.
- 1/4 cup oil that holds steady in high heat; I use grape seed oil.
- Sea salt to taste.
You can double each ingredient to make a large batch. Yes, that will seem like an obscene amount of oil, but you’ll need that much to keep the sugar from burning and to get an even coating of sweet and salty crunch on the kernels.
What to do:
- Put your large pot an a burner set to just below high and add the oil and 3 unpopped kernels of corn.
- While you’re waiting for these first kernels to pop, make sure you’ve got the rest of your popcorn kernels and sugar ready to go, a large bowl waiting nearby, and that pair of potholders on your hands.
- Once the three test kernels pop, pour in the rest of the kernels and the sugar. and pop the lid back on. Immediately start shaking that pot like crazy, back and forth, round and round, back and forth. Don’t stop! Not even for a second!
- Once the popping has slowed down and you’re starting to really worry that things will burn, whisk the pot off the heat and quickly pour everything into that large bowl you’ve got waiting.
- Sprinkle on sea salt to taste and toss it in with a spoon (you’ll burn your hands if you try to toss the salt in bare-handed).
- Let cool.
- Store any leftovers in a large jar with a tight lid.