What’s a movie without popcorn?! For film fans worldwide, popcorn is an essential ingredient of a successful night at the cinema, but just because you’re watching a movie at home, doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy the delicious stuff. You can of course buy your popcorn in a bag from any supermarket, but nothing beats the smell and taste of freshly made popcorn. So we’ve found a few popcorn makers, that will help make your movie nights that little bit more enjoyable, and we believe are an essential home cinema accessory!
Popcorn makers are quite small, and work by heating and spinning a small vertical drum where the popping corn is placed. As the corn starts to pop, the popcorn is spun out of the chute and into your bowl/box/mouth – simple, quick and very tasty indeed!
We love them, and think they make the ultimate home cinema accessory – just don’t get too upset when your guests start commenting on the quality of your popcorn rather than your sound system!
Sweet Treats Popcorn Maker
Simple but effective, the Sweet Treats popcorn maker is a heated air blown model and includes a measuring cap in the top popping chute. The simple red design features an easy to reach on/off switch at the side and the downward facing chute helps to ensure that the popcorn ends up in your bowl underneath .It’s also easy to easy to clean meaning you can get straight back to your movie in no time!
JM Posner 2.5oz Popcorn Maker
This model is a kettle based maker (see below for the difference between air blown and the kettle type), meaning you need to use a little oil in the making of the popcorn, but as a result the flavour is a little more authentic. The kettle is fully enclosed also so you can be sure your popcorn will stay off the floor. It’s easy to make large quanties of popcorn with this machine and it really looks the part too. A great addition to any home cinema. Read our full review »
Or the ultimate Home Cinema Popcorn machine….
This is the real deal! With the authentic design of an original American popcorn machine, its big wheels make it fully portable meaning you can push it wherever you need to (as long as there is a power socket nearby). It’s easy to make massive quanties of popcorn, and the big tray on the front even allows you to scoop the stuff out in authentic style!
If you have the room, and have a lot of guests, this could be just for you!
Making your own popcorn is not difficult, and you don’t need a special machine to do it – you can do it at home in a large lidded saucepan. The problem is that the volumes produced this way are relatively small, and you do need to get your timings right otherwise you end up with burnt and un-popped corn which is a nightmare to clean off your pan.
The more popular heated air blown machines have a small metal drum, to which the kernels are added. The machine then blows hot air through side vents which then spins the kernels and heats them up simultaneously before blowing the lighter popped corn through a chute at the top.
A kettle popcorn maker is simply a heated metal bowl (the ‘kettle’) with an internal stirrer. The kettle is heated before a little oil and the kernels are added. The popped corn tumbles out the top of the kettle into a bowl or tray below.
Advantages and disadvantages of air heated popcorn machines
- They are cheap;
- Easy to use;
- Require almost no cleaning;
- Require no oil;
- Small and easy to store.
- No oil is used so the popcorn can be a little dry;
- The popcorn coming out of the chute often misses the bowl you have placed underneath;
- Noisy in operation;
- Not particularly attractive.
Advantages and disadvantages of a kettle popcorn machine
- Looks authentic, especially in a home cinema room;
- Popcorn tastes a little better;
- Makes larger batches;
- More fun to use;
- Quiet when in operation, except when popping!
- More expensive;
- Larger, and so more difficult to store (unless leaving out);
- The kettle requires cleaning after each use;
- You need to add a little amount of oil in the kettle.
Popcorn also has the advantage of being quite good for you – it is very low in fat and calories, high in fibre and with no salt or sugar it won’t contribute towards a heart attack or rot your teeth. That is of course until you start adding melted butter, salt, caramel and whatever else you fancy! Without any additives, a mug full of popcorn is about 30 calories, so you can have a good bowl full for less than the equivalent calories of a chocolate bar.
Popcorn has been around for a long time, and was first discovered by the Native Americans. However, it first became popular in the US during the Great Depression because it was a cheap snack, at a time when people had little money.
If you want popcorn with your home movie, you have 3 choices – buy a big bag of Butterkist popcorn from the Supermarket, get yourself some of those microwave popcorn bags, or do the real thing and get a bag of popping corn, and a popcorn maker. The latter is easily the most fun and unless you add any salt or butter, the best for you too. And with popping corn being cheap (under £1 for a bag that goes quite a long way) it ends up being very cost effective too.
Further reading: There is a comprehensive article about Popcorn on Wikipedia.