Best Popcorn Popper – Reviews & Comprehensive Buying Guide
What describes a perfect movie night better than a big bowl of popcorn? I am sorry if my words just made you crave for popcorn! But you know what? You are not the only one that loves popcorn so much, records say archaeologists found ancient and well preserved kernels of popcorn in the tombs in Peru! So well preserved they are that you could still snack on them (but don’t). Popcorns are probably the semi staple food for people in America, an average American eats about 70 quarts of popcorn in a year and I don’t blame them, those fluffy little kernels taste yum with almost anything and everything! Americans have time and again professed their love for popcorn in various ways as a result of which today we have all the possible varieties of “pop-corny stuffs” from popcorn beer to popcorn soup. But as of now you just crave a large bowl of popcorn I guess, so why don’t you pop some? A popcorn popper is the answer to your next question – how?
Best Popcorn Popper - Our Picks
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The Best Popcorn Poppers in the Market
As are there an immense number of popcorn lovers in the world so are there an immense number of popcorn poppers. But just as the human beings, some of the poppers are more established in the market than the others. So, here is a look at some of the best ones available in the market:
What are Popcorn Poppers and How Do They Work?
If you have read till here, I must say you seem really intent on getting a mouthful of those fluffy white tots! A popcorn popper will help you cook the kernels fast and easy. Don’t worry, it is not gobbledygook, a popcorn popper is simply a device that allows you to pop the corn kernels fast and makes the entire process hassle free. Popcorn poppers generally are of two types – one that cooks the kernels in hot air and does not require any oil or grease whatsoever, the other type uses grease (butter or oil) to cook the kernels and makes them tastier!
An air popper works by popping the kernels in hot air, an external heater steams up water which in turn builds up the pressure inside the corn container. The heat and the building pressure pops the corns to give you perfect fat free popcorn. Some hot air popcorn poppers used an improvised technique to reduce the time even more; these poppers use a central spinner which spins the corn kernels. While circling inside the central chamber the kernels start to reach the edge and fall out into the outer chamber where a small amount of water gets trapped inside the kernels, and as the heat rises the water turns into steam and builds the pressure inside the kernel resulting the fibrous cover to explode and we get the fluffy end product.
The other type of popcorn popper uses oil. It works almost the same way as does the traditional popcorn popper. You have to add the kernels to the container, pour some oil, stir it up, place the lid and switch it on. The heating element will get the corns popping! Some of these popcorn poppers also have a small vent at the top of the lid where you can keep thin slices of butter; the butter will gradually melt and drip mixing well with the popcorns.
Why Use a Popcorn Popper – the Benefits
All this while you must have been wondering why invest in a popcorn popper? Well, the first reason would be – a popcorn popper makes the whole popcorn making thing easy and less greasy. You may still want to pop the kernels in the microwave. But let’s be honest, the last time you microwaved the kernels, you probably spent a decade collecting the popped kernels that had fallen outside the bowl, and then there were about 50 kernels which hadn’t popped at all. Let us also consider the fact that microwaving the kernels uses fat and electricity a lot more than what a popcorn popper uses. And then while you are craving some freshly made popcorn you are stuck up doing the math of what time and temperature to set while using a microwave. If all these reasons have not been sufficient to convince you enough, consider this:
Microwave popcorn manufacturers many times use a chemical named diacetyl in the product. This chemical has resulted in some workers and even a customer having developed a medical condition called the popcorn lung. Also known as Bronchiolitis obliterans or constrictive bronchiolitis this ailment includes symptoms like wheezing, shortness of breath, dry cough and feeling tired. One of the most accepted causes of this disease is exposure to the chemical diacetyl (which was used extensively in microwave popcorns until recently). After this fact became more known to the public last year, many companies decided to remove diacetyl from their recipes. However, as goes the saying “prevention is better than cure”, it is better to keep safe and so I decided to suggest some user and health friendly options of making popcorn which is the use of a popcorn popper!
General Features of a Typical Popcorn Popper
Popcorn Poppers are just a simplistic version of the large popcorn machines that we often see at the theaters. Quite similar to the design of the large popcorn machines, a typical popcorn popper too has a vessel to hold the kernels. These vessels are usually called popcorn pots or stove-top poppers and have been marketed under various brand names such as the Detonator, Whirley pop etc. This basic pot structure has a blade like aperture attached to it (pivoted at the center) and it whirls slowly allowing the added seasonings (oil, butter, salt, pepper or sugar) to mix equally with the popcorn as the kernels pop. However, in a hot air popper, you might as well find a vent at the bottom to blow hot air at the kernels. The popcorn industry has come up with so many designs for a home popcorn maker that it becomes quite difficult to entail all the details of a popcorn popper with absolute accuracy. However, a general idea of the features will help you form an initial picture of what to expect.
Qualities to Look for in a Popcorn Popper
Your search for the best popcorn popper begins here. Once you know what deciding factors while choosing an ideal popcorn popper you might as well judge for own self. Before you go looking for a popcorn popper you need to know what qualities make a popcorn popper an ideal one. The first thing you look for is – the usability of the popper. By that I mean you need to check whether or not the popper is user friendly, easy to assemble, made of durable material, dish washer friendly (or easy to clean), has extra features like a built in bowl to serve the popcorn etc. The primary reason why you opted for a popcorn popper is to ease things and if the popper does not serve the very purpose, what is the point?
Secondly, you need to check the efficiency of the popper that is the pop-ability. Now this point is equally important as the first one, but for me ease of doing things is a tad bit more important. Well, before buying a popcorn popper you need to know if it is efficient enough or whether it leaves half of the kernels un-popped. Biting your teeth out on a half popped kernel is surely not a welcome thing. You also need to inquire about the time it takes to cook one batch (which should not be more than what a microwave takes).
Lastly, you need to check whether the popper is able to add to or reduce the desirability of the end product. Popcorns cooked in a hot air popper may feel dry as it does not use any fat; to fight this dryness many add lots of butter to the popcorn. On the other hand the oil or butter added in the other type of popcorn popper may turn it soggy. To ensure you get the desired end product, it is absolutely essential that you look for these bits before you pay. You can request a demo at the store which might help you decide.
Popcorn Serving Suggestions
Being a popcorn and food aficionado I felt it was a duty on my part to suggest some classics toppings for your popcorn. Since you took all the effort to make yourself popcorn in the popper you might as well invest some time to make your popcorn taste even better. Adding salt and butter to popcorn is almost a traditional seasoning for popcorns. If you want to differ you may as well go on add chili powder or paprika or ground pepper. You may as well add sugar to your corn kernels while they are popping inside the popcorn popper, that way you get to taste caramel popcorn without having to visit Garett’s.
People across the world have eaten popcorn in as many ways as possible; some eat it with wasabi while some replace their morning bowl of cereal with a bowl of popcorn and milk or popcorn and cream. Dipping the fluffy popcorn kernels in mayonnaise or cheese spread also is a favorite way of having popcorn for many people. But every person has a different choice and these are only a few suggestions. You may add your own choice of seasonings and dress it up your own way and who knows you may even discover a great way of eating popcorn.
One of the best seasonings that go well with popcorn is spicy cheddar cheese. There are specific spicy cheddar popcorn seasoning packages that are actually available in the market. Most cinema houses that serve cheese flavoured popcorn use this seasoning and ain’t it delicious? All you need to do is to grab a pack and pop some of it in the popcorn popper along with the kernels. As the kernels pop and dance about, they will get coated evenly.
The Final Showdown
Now that you are through and through with all the details about popcorn and popcorn popping maybe you should get you popcorn popper. After an extensive research I found that the three popcorn poppers I have mentioned above were some of the best available poppers in the market and that these were the three models that were repeatedly recommended by various people. However, there are many other popcorn poppers out there and other models too may suit you well. So if you get down to the hunting business, just keep checking for those three conditions – efficiency, usability and desirability of the end product. And once your corn popper is home, wait no more, grab a big bowl and start popping up some tasty fluffy treats for you. Happy feasting!