It’s everywhere now—pumpkin flavoring is in lattes, muffins, cookies, pancakes and more, so why not in popcorn? And, since October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month, the folks at the Popcorn Board are once again tempting me with tasty treat ideas I’m sharing here. As a big fan of the “munchable maize” as they say, there are many ways to enjoy beyond butter.
Whether you make it sweet, savory or salty, plain or pumped up, you’ll join your fellow Americans in consuming some 16 billion quarts this year, notes the Popcorn Board. October is chosen because it marks the end to the labor of the spring and summer months. As farmers head into the fields to gather the crops, families and friends gather to celebrate this snack food.
Plus, since popcorn is a whole grain, it’s good for you. As a whole grain, popcorn provides carbohydrates and fiber to the diet and is naturally low in fat and calories. Recipes, of course, vary the nutrition, but with the low-cal base, it still poses a good snack option for any day or gathering this season.
Since kernels expand up to 40 times their original size when popped, you never need very much to add up. The unpopped-to-popped measurements: 1 ounce, which is 1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons of unpopped kernels, makes 4 cups popped. So, you can double or triple from there, because, of course, you’re going to want more.
Maple Pumpkin Spice Popcorn
Makes 5 cups
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice mix
1 Tablespoon butter or margarine
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional
5 cup popped popcorn
In a large saucepan or pot, heat brown sugar, maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice mix over medium heat.
Cook, stirring, 3 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and mixture is bubbling.
Stir in butter until melted and well blended. Add pecans, if desired, and popcorn and stir until well coated.
Allow mixture to cool before serving. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.