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Hand-Crank Stovetop Popcorn Maker

 
Posts: 34
Location: FL
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Hello,

I'm considering getting my hands on a stovetop popcorn maker, such as this one:




In order to avoid using an electric appliance and such. I also have the idea of growing my own small batch of corn and dedicating a small portion of it to popcorn production(I really love popcorn), but that's beside the point.


Anyway I was wondering if there are other uses I can make from cookware such as this? At first glance it seems like an ordinary pot, and if the crank portion makes the only true difference from an ordinary pot, then I imagine it can be used with other vegetables or something.

It's more of a low-priority thought, but I am curious.
 
pollinator
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Yeah, pretty much a pot with no handle. Some brands have a hole in the side for a pin on the handle to grip the pot tight.

You will want to be careful what you use it for, as the seasoning of oil is pretty important to making good popcorn. You can toast lots of stuff in them because of the good stirring action prevents burning--whole wheat or oat groats, nuts, roast coffee (OUTSIDE because of the smoke), larger spices. But you want to stick with stuff that would taste good on popcorn.
 
gardener
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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Quite honestly this looks to me like a complicated device for separating suckers from their money.

I grew up making stovetop popcorn in RevereWare cooking pots of various large sizes. I cannot imagine what more could be accomplished with the crank. You want a pot with a heavy bottom that conducts heat well; this pot looks cheap and thin. You do want to move the kernals around in the oil during the phase where they are heating up together; this is accomplished by giving periodic brisk shakes to the covered pot.

Honestly I think you'd be better off investing in a multipurpose high-quality pot.
 
steward
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Glass cook-top->no shaking the pot for fear of scratching the surface. Got one of these bad boys, best popcorn ever. Letting out the steam a little seems to keep it from getting tough. Sprang for stainless steel. Have seen aluminum ones in thrift shops. The pot would make a pretty good inner pot for a double boiler, but not safe for much else without a handle. On second thought, it would make a fine wine chiller. Now there's a thought. Luckily I don't drink wine with popcorn.
 
Dan Boone
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Glass cooktop is a use case I hadn't considered. Typically the shaking occurs half an inch *above* the cooktop but yeah, if a person wanted to be extra cautious or was delegating the popcorn making to the kids, I can see it.
 
pollinator
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Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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I would like to chime in as an experienced person in recreating the movie popcorn flavor. Its not a permie practice, but its the best I can do to recreate the flavor. All you need....

Any large pot with a lid. On first pop all you need to do is continually and smoothly shake the pot side to side. Should only take a few minutes after the first pop. Something like this below.



Coconut oil with beta carotene.

http://www.amazon.com/Paragon-Coconut-Popcorn-Popping-Gallon/dp/B002YLI9E2

Flavocol, which is made from soy.

http://www.amazon.com/Gold-Medal-Products-Flavacol-Seasoning/dp/B007HN5KNA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1403843612&sr=8-2&keywords=flavacol

For butter, use the real stuff or as in the movie theaters pour extra coconut oil with beta carotene. They obviously don't use real butter. The flavocol will last a very long time, going on 2 years in my home.
 
A. Soto
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Thank you all for your advice! Some interesting alternatives, here.
 
R Scott
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Dan Boone wrote:Honestly I think you'd be better off investing in a multipurpose high-quality pot.



We used to do it that way and my wife thought the same as you. But I brought one home from goodwill for $1, and we have never done it the old way since. Even though the plain pot could do twice as much at a time, the popcorn popper is faster. And my kids can do it safely.

Not only are glass top ranges a problem, but you have to have the height and physical strength to do it safely.
 
pollinator
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We LOVE ours. Use it every Friday. Just makes popcorn easy and fun. The kids love to crank the handle. Haven't considered using it for anything else though.
 
gardener
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I'm in the heavy bottomed pot camp.
I don't even shake mine, the popping takes care of itself.
If I were going to get a gadget for popping corn,  it would be an air popper.
 
master pollinator
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We have one....it works well.  It is also good for roasting coffee
 
pollinator
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I use a wok for perfect popcorn on the stove.  The large surface area and sloped sides allow the pops to fly up and away from the center, then slide back down on the sides to the surface of the popcorn mass.  At least I'm guessing that's what happens?  I know that popcorn comes out WAY better than in a stock pot, where the lower pops and kernels are more prone to burning, and kernels tend to get stifled and smothered.  The wok allows the pops and the kernels to move around and adjust/redistribute themselves.  I get beautiful perfect popcorn darn near every time in my wok.  I heat oil up in it first, then ad kernels to the hot oil and cover with a domed lid that I leave cracked about 1/4" on one side to let moisture out.  Once the popping starts to slow I shake it all around and make sure kernels are falling to the bottom.  Give it a bit longer for the popping to slow and take it off heat.  Salt it, and you're good to go!  Takes about 5 minutes on a propane flame.
 
pollinator
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I use a Le Cruset pot since its already black and it holds heat well but I think I might try the wok🤔
 
John F Dean
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Hi Jen

The wok sounds like an interesting approach.  It makes sense.  
 
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