My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!

Am I Really Saving Money? Microwave Popcorn

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Sorry I slacked off last week.  I was in need of a mini vacation, so I vacationed from my responsibilities, including my blog.  But I’m back!

 

Many moons ago, I remember reading something about all the things that cause cancer.  If I remember correctly, this article contended that everything on the planet, save 7 things, caused cancer.  Is that true?  I don’t know, but I remember one thing on that list broke my heart: microwave popcorn.  Who doesn’t love microwave popcorn?  A self contained snack, hot and ready in less than 3 minutes.  Truth be told, microwave popcorn is good, but it isn’t my favorite.  My most *FAVORITE* popcorn is oil-popped popcorn (which most likely also causes cancer, because everything does, right?). 

 

A little popcorn goes a long way!

A little popcorn goes a long way!

 

Now we have a lot more to worry about with GMOs, pesticides, bees dying, etc.  Is there an up-side to popcorn?  If what I read on the Internet is true, not only is popcorn a whole grain, it is not (yet) GMO (see article here).  That’s great if you are a popcorn lover like me, but is it good for anything else?  YES!  If you have a grain mill, you can grind popcorn to make cornmeal and have non-GMO cornbread!  Most of the corn grown in the USA is a GMO, and, if that concerns you, this is a great solution.  At least for the time being…

 

But, back to traditional popcorn.  Today, I’m going to show you two ways to make popcorn and compare the cost of homemade microwave popcorn to store-bought microwave popcorn.  First, here’s my favorite way to pop popcorn: in a pan with oil.  YUM!

 

To begin, I pulled out my popcorn and some Kettle Corn seasoning.

To begin, I pulled out my popcorn and some Kettle Corn seasoning.

 

I added 3/4 cup of unpopped popcorn to a large stockpot with oil.

I added 3/4 cup of unpopped popcorn to a large stockpot with oil.

 

I put the lid on the pan and turned the heat on medium high.  I let the popcorn pop until there was a second or two between pops, then I removed it from the stove.

I put the lid on the pan and turned the heat on medium high. I let the popcorn pop until there was a second or two between pops, then I removed it from the stove.

 

My 3/4 cup of unpopped popcorn became about 24 cups of popped popcorn!

My 3/4 cup of unpopped popcorn became about 24 cups of popped popcorn!

 

I sprinkled on some of my favorite "Kettle Corn" popcorn seasoning for an indulgent treat!

I sprinkled on some of my favorite “Kettle Corn” popcorn seasoning for an indulgent treat!

 

Now, microwave popcorn.

 

I measured about 3 tablespoons of unpopped popcorn into a plain, brown lunch bag.  If you don't have a lunch bag, you can put this into a microwaveable bowl and put a plate on top to cover it.

I measured about 3 tablespoons of unpopped popcorn into a plain, brown lunch bag. If you don’t have a lunch bag, you can put this into a microwaveable bowl and put a plate on top to cover it.

 

There are two ways you can seal the bag.  First, you can fold the top over 2-3 times.

There are two ways you can seal the bag. First, you can fold the top over 2-3 times.

 

Or you can fold down once and put one staple at the top to hold the bag shut.  No, this will not hurt your microwave.  Yes, I'm aware that it's metal, but it will be okay.  I promise.  Well, maybe I shouldn't promise.  I was told it was fine, and I've been doing it FOREVER (at least 5 years), but I am not an expert and cannot guarantee your experience will be problem free.  Consult a microwave expert before proceeding.

Or you can fold down once and put one staple at the top to hold the bag shut. No, this will not hurt your microwave. Yes, I’m aware that it’s metal, but it will be okay. I promise. Well, maybe I shouldn’t promise. I was told it was fine, and I’ve been doing it FOREVER (at least 5 years), but I am not an expert and cannot guarantee your experience will be problem free. Consult a microwave expert before proceeding.

 

Turn your microwave on high and pop until there is 1-2 seconds between pops.  Then remove from the microwave.

Turn your microwave on high and pop until there is 1-2 seconds between pops. Then remove from the microwave.

 

DO NOT TRY TO TAKE PICTURES OF THE MICROWAVE WHILE YOU ARE POPPING POPCORN, IGNORING THE ACTUAL POPCORN.  You will end up with a stinky mess like this one.

DO NOT TRY TO TAKE PICTURES OF THE MICROWAVE WHILE YOU ARE POPPING POPCORN, IGNORING THE ACTUAL POPCORN. You will end up with a stinky mess like this one.

 

Your popcorn should look something like this when you open the bag.  You can either fold down the bag and eat it right out of the bag (after adding anything else you want: salt, butter, etc.)...

Your popcorn should look something like this when you open the bag. You can either fold down the bag and eat it right out of the bag (after adding anything else you want: salt, butter, etc.)…

 

Or, you can pour it into a bowl and serve.  Just under 3 tablespoons of unpopped popcorn popped about 6 cups of popcorn.

Or, you can pour it into a bowl and serve. Just under 3 tablespoons of unpopped popcorn popped about 6 cups of popcorn.

 

So, are you saving money to pop your own popcorn?  Here’s the cost breakdown:

 

Grocery Store prices (in Southern California on June 9, 2014)

 

Homemade

Popcorn – $1.20/16 ounces, which contains 11 servings (3 tablespoons each), making is just under 11 cents a serving

Lunch Bags – $3.09/100 bags, making it just over 3 cents a bag

Total Price – 14 cents per serving using a bag or 11 cents if using a bowl.

 

Purchased from grocery store

Least expensive microwave popcorn – $5.99/25 servings = just under 25 cents a serving.

You save 9 – 14 cents per serving if you shop at my local grocery store.

 

Warehouse club prices (in Southern California on June 9, 2014)

 

Homemade

Popcorn – $23.98/50 pounds, which equals just under 4 cents a serving

Lunch bags – $3.09/100 bags, making it just over 3 cents a bag (My warehouse club doesn’t sell paper lunch bags, so this is the grocery store price.)

 Total Price – 7 cents per serving using a bag or less than 4 cents if using a bowl

 

Purchased from Warehouse Club

Store-bought Microwave popcorn – $7.28/56 servings (2 servings per bag) = 13 cents a serving.

You save anywhere from 5-9 cents per serving if you shop at my local warehouse club.

 

Is it worth it to you?  I can’t speak for you, but it’s worth it for me.  🙂

 

What’s your favorite way to save money making something at home?

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Author: Laurie Nguyen

I am a happily married, stay at home mom with four sons, ages 24, 22, 18, and 14. I'm not a professional blogger, and I'm certainly not a foodie or a chef. But I like food, so I think I'm qualified to write about my own life experience with food. Want to be a little more prepared for the unexpected? Check out my Food Storage Blog, http://forayintofoodstorage.com. Have a question about Food Storage? Email me: forayintofoodstorage@gmail.com.

9 thoughts on “Am I Really Saving Money? Microwave Popcorn

  1. Glad you’re back this week. This is such a genius little life-hack! We pop our own on the stove-top too. It’s such a simple snack, but the possibilities for it are endless.
    Our favorite is making our own stove-top kettle corn. It’s so easy. Here’s the recipe we use: http://4sonrus.com/2014/06/04/easy-kettle-corn/

    Like

  2. Interesting. I like the taste of popcorn popped on the stove.
    Speaking of things that can cause cancer, I’m drinking a cup of water from a plastic cup with the plastic screw on lid and straw.
    I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought it. The water taste like plastic! I’m going to throw it away right now! I bought it at the 99c store. Definitely not worth using.

    Like

  3. We all need a break & I’m glad you took it! There’s nothing like it to come back with joy & zest to go further…welcome back 🙂

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  4. Good for you being smart enough to take a brain break! – Fawn

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  5. Thanks for sharing this idea. My daughter loves popcorn. We will definitely be trying the brown bag technique 🙂

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  6. Great stuff! And I love the confessional burnt popcorn picture. 🙂

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  7. Store bought microwave popcorn is crammed full of nasties; trans fats and other guff. It’s not good for you at all. Make your own for the full health benefits of popcorn. Innit.

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  8. We grow non-gmo corn for cornmeal…. and it makes great popcorn. After seeing your pictures of the popped-in-a-bag method, I’m inspired to try it. Thanks again 🙂

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  9. Reblogged this on A Place Setting For One and commented:
    Somehow… this makes me feel even more justified about my love for popcorn. *begins popping a bowl*

    Like

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