Friday, June 14, 2013


A Pop-Up Ad

Stacked on shelves, tucked away in bags and bottles is an impressive array of popcorn products at Jungle Jim's International Market. In the salty snacks section neatly displayed are microwave varieties, seasoning mixes and flavored oil. Organic and Non-GMO popcorn can be found in the natural section. Our bulk section boasts organic white, multicolor and yellow kernels. But wait - there's more! Red, yellow, rainbow, white, blue, purple and an intriguing "ladyfinger" variety jockey for space in the international section. If this isn't "corn-fusing" enough, there's even more kernels, oils, seasonings and for the adventurous snack lover - super spicy microwave popcorn - in the international sections at both locations.

Popcorn is "Jungle" Jim Bonaminio's favorite snack and today Leigh popped up a batch of fluffy, crisp white popcorn and an amazing batch of kettle corn. Her kettle corn is every bit as delicious as that tantalizing kettle corn you can get at the state fair. She'll be demonstrating the kettle corn in her sold out 4th of July Celebration cooking class this month at the Cooking School. She also taught a class on popcorn and wanted to share with you some of the information and tips she learned about this popular, healthy snack food.

Leigh tested several types of premium popcorn and by premium she means a more expensive, hybrid popcorn. We use a Whirley Pop popper in the Cooking School and for the best results the manufacturer recommends a premium popcorn, like Orville Redenbacher. At Jungle Jim's we carry a premium brand of white popcorn, Essential Everyday, that works really well for kettle corn and plain popcorn for snacking. The bottom line is that you need to use the popcorn the manufacturer recommends for the best results. Whirley Pop uses premium priced popcorn and most air poppers give you the best yield with standard priced popcorn. Both bowls of popcorn in the above photo are made with premium white popcorn.

Let's talk about oil. It makes a difference what oil you use to pop your corn. Coconut oil has a higher smoke point. In our opinion, it works better and pops a crispier kernel than vegetable oil which tends to burn or get sticky in the pan before the popcorn is completely popped. Coconut oil is all the rage which makes it more readily available in most supermarkets. Jungle Jim's carries coconut oil in the natural foods section and in the Indian international section. We also use the solid coconut oil, not the liquid product. Coconut oil has a longer shelf life because it is more stable than other oils, so if you buy a jar for corn popping, it will last up to 2 years without becoming rancid.

It the first photo you may have noticed two small bowls filled with something. One bowl has an herbed butter we like to melt and dribble over plain popcorn. The other small bowl holds a reddish colored seasoning mix we'd like to share with you for your snacking enjoyment.

Sweet and Spicy Popcorn Seasoning Mix

2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
4 quarts popped popcorn
Melted butter, for serving

Place sugar and salt in a food processor and process to a fine powder. Pour into a bowl and stir in remaining spices.

Place popcorn in a serving bowl and toss with melted butter. Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons (or to taste) of the mix over popcorn and toss to distribute evenly.

Store remaining seasoning in an airtight container.

Makes about ¼ cup

The Gourmet Galleria carries the Whirley Pop popcorn popper. We like its dependability and ease of clean up. 

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