One of my all-time favorite snacks, popcorn, just got better thanks to the Whirley Pop popcorn maker. I’ve been a long-time fan of making popcorn on the stove, but in the past few months the saucepan I usually use to pop popcorn hasn’t been performing well. Sometimes the popcorn would burn; other times the kernels would only partially pop. It was a frustrating matter, yet also the perfect opportunity to examine other modes of popping popcorn.
One of the simplest ways to make popcorn from scratch is to microwave a brown paper lunch bag containing a handful of kernels and drizzle of oil. (See Alton Brown’s method here.) I’ve had success with this method in several microwaves, but my current microwave gave an error message whenever I tried it. I took that as a good sign to try another method.
I was intrigued by this glass popper that I’d seen in kitchen stores, especially since it would be much easier to clean than an oily saucepan from stovetop popcorn. In the end, though, I would rather not microwave my food if I don’t have to, so the Whirley Pop stovetop hand-crank popcorn maker won. I had asked two friends who each have the Whirley Pop, Erica and Robin, whether they were happy with it and whether it was difficult to clean. Following their advice that it was a good popper and not hard to clean, I bought a red Whirley Pop at Cost Plus World Market.
After reading the instruction booklet and making a batch of popcorn, I realized that the Whirley Pop had two other virtues to its name: (1) you can clean it by wiping it out with a paper towel and (2) it needs very little oil to function. The instruction booklet assured me there was no need to hassle cleaning the Whirley Pop because ”If you use your popper every week, washing is not necessary. Just wipe out with a paper towel.” Could I eat popcorn at least weekly? Yes, siree! Problem solved. The second point, needing very little oil, is definitely a nice health benefit. Stovetop popcorn can be greasy, but with the Whirley Pop, you only need a few teaspoons of oil per 1/2 cup of kernels. Not bad. Speaking of oil, I prefer to use coconut oil because unlike canola oil it leaves a lovely coconut scent in the house after popping popcorn (and it tastes good!). There you have it, my friends, these are the reasons why I ♥ my Whirley Pop.
Have you ever used a Whirley Pop? What do you think of it? Or do you have some other tried and true method you stand by?