Saturday, April 14, 2012

Review: Trader Joe's organic popping corn

At my old office job, we could help ourselves to as much microwaved popcorn as we could handle. Which was awesome when, around 3:30, I'd hit that slump in the afternoon where I didn't want to drink caffeine but could totally use a bit of something to tide me over for the last few hours before quittin' time. So microwave popcorn became a sort of Godsend for me.

 I can mindlessly eat a ton of popped popcorn.

In all honesty, the popcorn was OK. Because we usually got the "butter" flavor, the office would smell like stinky, sweaty feet for hours after someone popped a bag. But it was better than nothing, and it was definitely better than heading to a vending machine and forking over a small fortune for a handful of M&Ms. The point is, I never really cared one way or another about popcorn, until my husband dusted off (literally) his grandma's old-school popcorn popper.

Called "The Poppery" (even though I always read it as "The Poopery") (DON'T GOOGLE THAT), this thing must be a relic of the Carter administration. But like many old things, it was said to work like a charm (Hi, mom and dad!) and reliably pop, well, popcorn.

I stared at the thing, because I wasn't even sure if plain old kernels were still sold in the stores. I would buy microwave popcorn and would only "see" microwave popcorn; I couldn't even tell you if my local Target or whatever still sold it. And then I read about microwave popcorn and started thinking that maaaybe I should rethink how I eat popcorn.

Thankfully, Trader Joe's sells organic popping corn. It's $1.99 for one pound and you get quite a few servings out of the deal. This is what's surprising to me about popcorn - when people say they need to cut back on chips and other snacks, which can be expensive, why don't people reach for popcorn instead? I drizzle a little bit of olive oil over my popped popcorn and sprinkle some salt over it, put a cover on the bowl, and shake it up a bit. It's the perfect snack.

However, not every kernel gets popped. I've tried other brands, and I don't have this problem; it seems that for every 1/2 cup of unpopped kernels I use, quite a few don't pop entirely, leaving me with half-finished popcorn with the hard kernel inside. I also get a few duds that don't end up popping, either. It's kind of weird. That being said, this is one of the best prices I've seen for popping corn.

Pro tips: If you have kids, definitely give Frank Asch's book Popcorn a read. If you don't have an air popper, check out these tips for microwaving your own popcorn.

Verdict: 3 out of 4 Hawaiian-print shirts.


  1. I bought a few bags of the TJ's organic popping corn. Overall, I like it. I just heat oil in a small covered pot and drop in a few kernels. When they pop, I pour in 1/2 cup kernels, cover the pot and most will pop.

    What's really interesting is wrapping some kernels in a wet paper towel placed into a plastic sandwich bag. After a few days sitting on the window sill, the kernels will germinate. I planted 2 in a dirt barrel and they are currently around 5-6 ft. high. I count 8 cobs in the making (well, hopefully the pollinating process goes well.. too early to tell).

  2. It's actually a 28 ounce bag, substantially more than 1 pound. That works out to 1.75 pounds, and for 1.99 per bag, it's a really good deal.