Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions...

What type of oil should I use to cook popcorn?

Choosing the correct oil will be your biggest decision. Oil affects the taste and the nutritional value of your popcorn. Manufacturers love coconut oil because it burns the cleanest, and supposedly tastes the best. If you are health-conscious however, you may want to steer clear of coconut oil and try canola oil (canola oil has a lower fat and cholesterol content). Other oils frequently used are sunflower, peanut and soy. The best plan for choosing oil is to research the nutritional value, then trial and error to determine which tastes best to you. The only oil to avoid is vegetable oil, because it cannot stand the heat of the kettle and tends to burn and smoke up the place, leaving a bit of a burnt taste to the popcorn.

What is the popped corn equivalent of one ounce of popcorn kernels?

One ounce of uncooked kernels yields one quart of cooked corn. Another way to look at this ratio is to think of a bag of microwave popcorn. A four-ounce bag of kernels (for a four-ounce popper) yields approximately the same amount of popped corn as a bag of microwave popcorn. Depending on how much your guests love popcorn, a four-ounce serving of popcorn could serve about 8 servings. Don't forget to buy popcorn serving bags, scoop boxes or tubs.

What is the shelf-life of the popcorn portion packs?

When storing the popcorn portion packs, it is best to store them where it is below 70 degrees. You do not have to refrigerate the portion packs. The shelf-life of the portion packs is around a year. The coconut oil can last longer then the popcorn kernels.

I just received my popcorn portion packs and the oil is hard, is that normal?

Yes, coconut oil solidifies or melts according to the temperature. So, it is completely fine to use either way. During the cooler months of the year, in a cold delivery truck, the coconut oil will harden. This is normal, as coconut oil will turn to a solid when below 76 degrees. Leaving it at room temperature will soften it. There is no need to “warm-up” your solid coconut oil before adding it to your popcorn kettle. The coconut oil can be added to your kettle when it is solid, as your heated kettle is about 300+ degrees thus turning the oil back to a liquid.

What makes theater popcorn taste so much better than microwave popcorn?

The taste and flavor of popcorn is determined by the type of oil and seasoning salt that is used in the cooking process. Most theaters use a specially formulated cooking oil that is partially absorbed by the popcorn as it pops. This is what gives the popcorn its flavor. Most microwaveable popcorn is oil-less and comes out dry and flavor-less.

What can I do if my popcorn comes out chewy?

Actually, popcorn is made up of hard starch and a little bit of moisture. This moisture is locked inside the kernel. As the temperature rises the moisture turns to steam and pressure begins to build. This continues until the kernel cannot withstand the force any longer, and explodes into the goodness we know and love.

Because popcorn kernels tend to lose moisture as they age the popping performance and quality of the popcorn can diminish.
To ensure popcorn maintains the appropriate moisture level, never store popcorn kernels in a refrigerator or freezer. This can dry them out very quickly. Also do not store them in a moist basement or a humid garage. The best place to keep your unpopped pop corn is on a pantry shelf (at room temperature, below 90°F) in a sealed container. You can typically expect popcorn to have a shelf life of about 18 months.

Freshly popped corn quickly absorbs humidity from the air. As the popcorn absorbs moisture, it loses its crispness and it can become chewy. If you run into this problem try popping with the metal serving door on your popper in its open position to help vent the moisture. You can even keep the Plexiglas door slightly open as Paragon recommends, but watch out for stray popcorn if you are daring enough to keep it all the way open!

After the popcorn is done popping immediately open the plexiglas door and let the steam out. Depending on where you have placed your popper you may have more or less moisture in the air. A damp basement is less than ideal but you can get around this by trying to keep the popcorn warm but dry. A popcorn warmer is ideal for this and is sometimes included in the popper's design depending on the model you have purchased.

Other factors that can play a part are an excess of oil used in the initial popping or too much popcorn added for your size kettle (use 4 oz. for a 4 ox kettle, 6 for 6 oz and so on). Try experimenting and above all have fun with the possibilities!

How much oil and corn do I use in my popcorn machine?

Kettle Size    Amount of Oil    Amount of Corn
2 oz.            1 TBSP             ¼ cup
4 oz.            ¼ cup               ½ cup
6 oz.            ¼ cup               ¾ cup
8 oz.            ⅓ cup                1 cup
12 oz.          ½ cup                1½ cups