Popcorn Machines

 

What size popcorn popper do I need?

The size you need is entirely dependent upon the amount of people you feed on a regular basis. Remember that the "ounce amount" relates directly to how many ounces of popcorn can be produced in one batch. For small families or small groups of guests, the four-ounce popper may be perfect for you. If you entertain large groups, or have a big family, you may want to buy the six- or eight-ounce popper to avoid making multiple batches all the time. Just keep in mind that even if you have a larger popper, you can make smaller batches on occasion with smaller amounts of corn, oil and salt. Also, take note that four-ounce machines generally do not have warming trays because there is usually no popped corn left over in the machine. For help with picking out the perfect popper, check out our popcorn machine guide.

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What is the popped corn equivalent of one ounce of popcorn kernels?

One ounce of uncooked kernels yields one quart of cooked corn. Another way to look at this ratio is to think of a bag of microwave popcorn. A four-ounce bag of kernels (for a four-ounce popper) yields approximately the same amount of popped corn as a bag of microwave popcorn. Depending on how much your guests love popcorn, a four-ounce serving of popcorn could serve two to three adults, or an eight-ounce serving could feed six adults.

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How long does it take to cook a batch of popcorn?

Once the kettle has heated, each batch should take approximately three to four minutes. Heat the kettle for seven to nine minutes before you are ready to pop. When it is ready, pour in the oil. Toss in a few kernels to test the "poppability." When those pop, include the rest of the kernels. Shut your lid and let it go, until you hear the popping start to slow (three to four minutes). Dump the kettle and dig in.

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What type of oil should I use to cook popcorn?

Choosing the correct oil will be your biggest decision. Oil affects the taste and the nutritional value of your popcorn. Manufacturers love coconut oil because it burns the cleanest, and supposedly tastes the best. If you are health-conscious however, you may want to steer clear of coconut oil and try canola oil (canola oil has a lower fat and cholesterol content). Other oils frequently used are sunflower, peanut and soy. The best plan for choosing oil is to research the nutritional value, then trial and error each to determine which tastes best. The only oil to avoid is vegetable oil, because it cannot stand the heat of the kettle and tends to catch on fire.

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What assembly is required?

Only the cart needs assembled. The popper units are shipped completely assembled.

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If I don't purchase the cart, can I place my popper on a regular countertop?

Yes. The hottest part of the popper is the kettle, and the kettle is always at the top of the machine. The base of the popper remains cool enough to set upon a countertop.

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Does the popper need a two-or-three-prong plug outlet?

The popper has a three-prong plug, and it can be plugged into any standard outlet.

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Why are hard-coat anodized aluminum kettles considered the best?

When you are cooking popcorn, there are two key elements - heat transfer and ease of cleaning. Aluminum provides the best heat transfer of any approved cooking material (i.e. the heat from the elements transfer completely to the food resulting in much better performance). When you anodize aluminum, you are changing the molecular surface of the aluminum and filling in the pores of the material. This makes a smooth and slippery surface that is easy to clean and is extremely durable.

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What's the best way to keep my popcorn machine clean?

All Paragon poppers utilize tempered glass panels, stainless steel clean-out trays, and aluminum corner posts. These surfaces can be cleaned using standard window cleaner or soap and water. To keep your kettle as clean as possible, let it cool after each use then wipe it out with a damp cloth. Cleaning kits must be used when the kettle becomes black with carbonization. Never submerge a kettle in any type of liquid because its electrical components can short out.

When making caramel corn (with Gold Medal's Glaze Pop), cover the clean-out tray with aluminum foil for easy cleaning.

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What can I do if my popcorn comes out chewy?

Actually, popcorn is made up of hard starch and a little bit of moisture. This moisture is locked inside the kernel. As the temperature rises the moisture turns to steam and pressure begins to build. This continues until the kernel cannot withstand the force any longer, and explodes into the goodness we know and love.

Because popcorn kernels tend to lose moisture as they age the popping performance and quality of the popcorn can diminish.

To ensure popcorn maintains the appropriate moisture level, never store pop corn kernels in a refrigerator or freezer. This can dry them out very quickly. Also do not store them in a moist basement or our a humid garage. The best place to keep your unpopped pop corn is on a pantry shelf (at room temperature, below 90°F) in a sealed container. You can typically expect popcorn to have a shelf life of about 18 months.

Freshly popped corn quickly absorbs humidity from the air. As the popcorn absorbs moisture, it loses it's crispness and it can become chewy. If you run into this problem try popping with the metal serving door on your popper in it's open position to help vent the moisture. You can even keep the plexiglas door slightly open as Paragon recommends, but watch out for stray popcorn if you are daring enough to keep it all the way open!

After the popcorn is done popping immediately open the plexiglas door and let the steam out. Depending on where you have placed your popper you may have more or less moisture in the air. A damp basement is less than ideal but you can get around this by trying to keep the popcorn warm but dry. A popcorn warmer is ideal for this and is sometimes included in the popper's design depending on the model you have purchased.

Other factors that can play a part are an excess of oil used in the initial popping or too much popcorn added for your size kettle (use 4 oz. for a 4 ox kettle, 6 for 6 oz and so on). Try experimenting and above all have fun with the possibilities!

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