Whether you are watching a movie at home, gathered around the bonfire in a campsite, or having fun conversations during a long drive, among other instances, popcorn is one of the most popular go-to snacks. You can prepare it in advance at home and eat it whenever, wherever!
What are the best popcorn kernels that are available in the market today? If you have no idea on what to choose, keep on reading the rest of this post. we’ll give you a glimpse of some of the most important considerations and we’ll also identify five of the top options, as well as some of the reasons why you should choose them above others.
Types and Varieties of Popcorn
There are several ways by which popcorn kernels can be different from each other. Among others, they might differ based on their variety. In this case, the following are some of the options that you will have:
- White Popcorn: Brilliant white in color, it comes with a natural flavor. This makes it bland when eaten on its own, which is why most people consider adding seasoning to improve its flavor. It can be further grouped into different sub-varieties, including Lady Finger, Sweet Baby Blue, and Baby White.
- Yellow Popcorn: When its kernels pop, there is a noticeable hint of yellow. It looks like it has been buttered and this is usually the ones we see being sold in the cinemas. It comes with a more distinct flavor compared to white popcorn. There are also sub-varieties, including Big & Yellow and Baby Yellow.
More so, popcorn kernels can also be categorized based on their shape.
- Butterfly Popcorn Kernels: Also called snowflakes, this is the most common shape for popcorn. It is tender, lighter, and fluffier compared to its counterpart. Also, it is known for having sizes that are inconsistent.
- Mushroom Popcorn Kernels: This type, on the other hand, tends to be more compact and is ball-shaped. It is less delicate compared to butterfly. They are also denser and larger. They are usually used in gourmet popcorns, especially those that are coated with flavoring, such as caramel and chocolate.
Essential Factors to Consider
As you try to narrow down the options for the best popcorn kernels, the following are some of the things you must take into account:
- Freshness: Before buying popcorn kernels, take a look at the packaging and make sure that it is still fresh. If it is fresh it will pop out quicker and will be more flavorful. On the other hand, if it has passed its prime, it will probably be bland and chewy.
- Packaging: You also have to make sure that the packaging will secure the kernels from external elements. Penetration of air, for instance, can lead to oxidation and can make the kernels go stale.
- Expansion Ratio: This is important because it will be indicative of how much will be made by the pack of kernels that you will buy. This is the volume of the popcorn as it expands. For instance, if it says 1:45, this means that 1 cup of un-popped kernels will make 45 cups of popcorn.
- Moisture Content: This is another important consideration that will make sure of the popping efficiency of the kernels. According to experts, it is best to choose popcorn with 13% to 14.5% moisture content.
- Nutrition: For those of you who are health-conscious, it is important to consider the nutritional value of the popcorn kernels. Take a look at the label and make sure that it has low fat. Also, it should be made from organic corn and should also be non-GMO.
- Flavor: To be sure that popcorn will be a delicious snack, choose the right flavor. Most of the options will have a buttery or cheesy taste. The good news is that even for plain-flavored popcorn, you have different options for making it taste better, such as through the use of seasoning and spices, depending on the specific flavor that is preferred.
Tips in Making the Perfect Popcorn
It is not enough that you have the best popcorn kernels. It will also be good to keep in mind the tips that will be mentioned below to make popcorn a more delicious snack:
- The right temperature will play a critical role in making the perfect popcorn. The best for popping temperature is 479 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure that the oil is sizzling and that the temperature is hot enough before tossing the kernels on a pan, in case you are using a stove.
- You should also pay attention to the type of oil that is used. Canola oil is a healthieralternative to coconut and palm oil. Olive oil can also be an excellent alternative, although you have to be careful not to overheat the oil as this can lead to a burnt flavor.
- Do not be afraid to be creative when it comes to flavoring. Try to experiment until you figure out what works best. Some of the best toppings that you might want to consider include powdered sugar, nutritional yeast, browned butter and salt, 5-spice powder, lemon zest, cracked pepper, and chili powder.
- There are also different popcorn salts and oils that you can use, which will be effective in adding distinct flavor. You might also want to consider using sea salts for a natural and healthier flavor. Sky is the limit when it comes to adding a distinct flavor to your popcorn and making sure that it won’t end up plain and boring.
If you are still clueless about the best way to add flavor to your popcorn, here is a short video that can help:
Top Picks for the Best Popcorn Kernels
In this section, we will have a rundown of five of the popcorn kernels that you might want to consider, as well as some of the things that make them better than most of their competitors.
If you want to have a delicious snack without having to compromise your health, this can prove to be an excellent choice for popcorn kernels. It contains zero trans-fat and zero cholesterol, which means that you can enjoy this yummy snack without the guilt.
The key to great-tasting popcorn would be the quality of the corns that are used. In this product, you will be happy knowing that it is made using non-GMO corn. To add, it is sourced directly from local farmers and have undergone a stringent selection process to make sure that only the best corn is used.
Another good thing about this popcorn is that there will be no need for you to measure. Every pack has already been pre-measured. This can be a huge time-saver.
Lastly, it is also exceptional in terms of consistency and quality. There will be no mess as it does not have any lose ingredient. Also, they are tested rigorously to make sure that every batch can deliver nothing but the best quality.
- Has a delicious flavor
- Pops fully
- Similar to the quality of movie theater popcorn
- Salt can clump
- Can sometimes be stale
This is another popcorn kernel that can be good for your health. Among others, you might like the fact that it is 100% whole grain. It has the bran and endosperm, among other nutritious content that you can find in grains. It is also gluten-free, making it an ideal snack even for vegans.
Another reason that makes it good for your health is the fact that it has high fiber content. In fact, every serving is believed to have 20% of your recommended daily fiber intake, making it helpful in promoting better digestion.
Looking for the perfect way to make this more flavorful? The manufacturer had some recommendations on how to achieve fuller flavor. You can use nutritional yeast, lemon zest, and Parmesan cheese, among others.
- Pops perfectly, which reduces wastage of kernels
- Has a crunchy texture
- Delicious flavor in every bite
- May not be as fluffy as others
- Can have tough hulls
If you are looking for small and tender popcorn, this should be on the top of the list. Unlike many others, this tends to be smaller than the traditional popcorn because of its variety. The best thing is that it is tender, which is why it can be good even for people who have dentures. The small size of the popcorn can also be a good thing when it comes to digestion.
For those who are concerned about their health, on the other hand, it is also a good thing that it is made using non-GMO corn. You can expect that it will deliver fresher flavor without being a harm for your health in any way.
Lastly, because it is white popcorn, many people swore that this is the best they have tasted, which can easily compel you to have it chosen above all others. There is no artificial taste. It is also versatile because you can add almost any flavoring as desired.
- Tender and tasty
- Has high expansion rate
- Excellent texture
- Can have hard hulls
- May be too small for some
Among others, the mere fact that it is organic can already give you the confidence that it will indeed be an exceptional pick. The manufacturer ensures that the corn used is grown in an organic setting and it is non-GMO. This will allow you to enjoy a delicious treat without worrying about your health.
Speaking about health, it can deliver an abundance of benefits. Among others, it should be pointed out that it is an excellent source of dietary fiber. It is also gluten-free, which makes it perfect snack even for vegans.
When it is popped, it may seem quite smaller compared to many others, but this should not be a problem. It will pop quickly, making it easy to prepare. Also, it has a unique texture and taste. However, you should be cautious in its preparation as there are times wherein it may end up being too tough.
- No stale flavor
- Pops up quickly
- High ratio of popped kernels
- Can leave a few hulls
- Can sometimes be hard to chew because it is too tough
A lot of people may think that popcorn is unhealthy, but this will only be the case if you choose the wrong one. In the case of this product, you can enjoy snacking without feeling guilty. It is high in fiber and low in fat. It is also non-GMO.
The reputation of the company is one thing that makes this a popular option. The company has been established in 1940 in Iowa. Since then, they have made a reputation for their exceptional popcorns, which are made from corns that they personally grow.
Also, because it is white popcorn, it has various advantages over its yellow counterpart. It is smaller and is more tender. Best of all, there will be less hard hulls, which also means that the wastage will not be too much.
- Has a tender texture and bright white color
- Easy to prepare
- Good for your health
- Some kernels can be left unopened
- Can be too small for some
Given the multiplicity of the options for the best popcorn kernels, making the right decision is never easy. From the flavor to the nutritional value, there are several considerations that should be given emphasis. Look for a pack that is not only delicious, but also one that will not harm your health in any way. With this, you can snack without the guilt!
From the five products that have been mentioned above, if I can recommend one, it would be Great Northern Popcorn Premium 24 Pk. The latter is made using the freshest ingredients sourced from local farmers. It pops fully, and most importantly, has mouthwatering taste!