Treats Less Plastic: DIY Kettle Corn

DIY Kettle Corn

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).
  • Potholders.
  • 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.

Kettle Corn Snack

Kettle Corn Snack

What to do:

  1. Put your large pot an a burner set to just below high and add the oil and 3 unpopped kernels of corn.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. Let cool.
  7. Eat.
  8. Store any leftovers in a large jar with a tight lid.

Big Jar of DIY Kettle Corn

2 comments on “Treats Less Plastic: DIY Kettle Corn

  1. We made it and love it! Will be the kids’ snack at school this week, and mine too. I miss Haloweens with all the homemade treate: candied apples (we have to try that next), popcorn balls, taffy, caramel, rice crispy treats, plain apples and fruit. What else was there? I’d love to start a tradition where families did these DIY candies and shared these instead!

    • Isn’t it good? I was thinking about home-made Halloween treats the other day, especially the popcorn balls our neighbor made and passed out wrapped in waxed paper. I loved those! I’m thinking about doing something like that for everyone who comes to our trick-or-treat party; I wonder if we could start a DIY Halloween Treats movement…Maybe this is the next generation of that earlier controversial idea. We could each put up a sign on the front porch to ID ourselves as a Home-Made Treat home and we could offer those w/ our names & contact info attached for anyone who’d like one. We’d probably need something else for those whose parents won’t let them take the DIY version. Maybe that would work for parents, or at least for some of them, especially in small communities like this one.

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