Most people love popcorn, but truth be told, packed and microwave popcorn is not as enticing as freshly popped popcorn. But is it this reason enough to buy a popcorn maker? For some enthusiasts, this might be enough. However, there is more to think about when considering whether to buy this equipment or not. After doing a little digging, here are a few things you should know about popcorn makers to help in making an informed decision.
The Workings of a Popcorn Maker
The working of a standard popcorn maker is not a complicated affair. To begin with the basics, the machine can be two feet long or less depending on the amount of popcorn you intend to pop. Most theatre popcorn machines have a large canister where the oil and corn kernels go. When you turn it on, the heating element brings the temperature of the oil up about 400 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is at this point that you can see the popcorn starting to pop out of the canister. It fills it up during the process and eventually overflows onto the clear box. Another option is air-popping the popcorn. Instead of using oil, air is fanned over the heating element to get the same results.
If you are not too adamant about the aesthetic aspects of a popcorn maker but love air-popped popcorn, you can opt for an air fryer. Just set it to about 390 degrees Fahrenheit and in 15 minutes you will have your fresh popcorn.
What to Look for in a Popcorn Maker
One of the most important things to consider about popcorn makers is aesthetics. It is a core part of why owning one is quite appealing. You should also think about factors such as:
Cleaning the Machine – If you think the popcorn maker you wish to buy will be a hassle to clean, there is no point in buying it. You are probably not going to use it as much. When you choose to invest, remember it is a machine that you will want to use often.
Nature of the Surfaces – To make cleaning easy, factor in buying a machine with non-stick surfaces.
The Stirring Mechanism – Consider the quality and reliability of the machine’s stirring mechanism. This is the secret behind your proper popping of the corn kernels. Unpopped popcorn is not appealing and a waste.
Size of the Popcorn Maker
This will largely depend on the number of people the machine will be serving. For instance, a family of five can sufficiently do with a four-ounce popcorn maker. When you have friends or family over, you can pop multiple batches or simply buy an eight-ounce machine.
Shelf Life of Freshly Popped Popcorn
Freshly popped popcorn can be eaten for a few days. Owning a popcorn maker gives you the advantage of reheating it on a warming plate. However, you can still warm it on a stovetop on low heat. You can eat it as it is but it will never measurer up to freshly popped. Additionally, it will always taste better than microwave popcorn. This is because microwave popcorn has many artificial ingredients such as butter or chocolate flavors, just to name a few. Moreover, they cost more than popping your own at home.
Cost of the Popcorn Maker
After considering all the above factors, evaluate your budget. A small countertop machine ranges between 20 dollars to 50 dollars. Depending on your intended use, you can go for a bigger machine at a higher cost.
After considering the factors mentioned above, you should be able to decide whether buying a popcorn maker is worth it.