We kick off this series with a head to head competition of Organic Popcorn vs. Non-Organic Popcorn. Now as you know, popcorn is a fantastic snack, good for you and good nutrition. I like it’s taste, it’s mouth-feel… even making it is fun. My personal preference is the air popper…easy, no mess and no fat.. plus no saucepan to clean.
But, like most natural foods Popcorn has been messed with. With popcorn you have your usual problems of modern mass production methods of spraying, fertilizing etc. which may be “not-good”. Let me put it this way, I just don’t want to consume any chemicals no matter how safe they tell me they are. So in terms of chemical purity the organic popcorn is of course the slam dunk winner. … But what about taste? Let’s take a look.
In this competition we pit the cheap supermarket brand of non-organic popcorn, premium non-organic popcorn and bulk organic popcorn. We popped all three in the air popper, let them come to an equal room temperature and tested. Here’s what we found:
Texture: This is a big part of the popcorn eating experience. For this we found the supermarket brand to be, not terrible, but definitely not good. It was sort of able to crumble easily. No chewy action going on. The premium non-organic stuff had plenty of chew..and in some bites too much of the chewy bordering on a polystyrene thing going on. But, the organic popcorn had more chew than supermarket and somewhat less than premium. .. Just right as they say.. So the other guys weren’t bad but the organic was slightly better.
Taste: Supermarket…Not bad but really not-good. Premium and organic, very close and both good.
So the organic barely nudged out a win with regards to the eating experience … both organic and premium were good (just don’t waste your time with the supermarket brand). So with taste being about equal you have two other factors to consider. The first is cost, premium is cheaper. The second is chemical residues, the organic is a purer food. Now when I did the math the amount of money saved on a bowl of popcorn wasn’t even pocket change. So I asked myself, if someone came up to me and said they’d give me this amount of change to swallow the tiniest amount of chemical would I do it? You know my answer, go organic and call it a day already.
Now if you still can’t make up your mind why not peruse the University of Kentucky’s 2009 Insecticide Recommendation for Popcorn (seriously, this is not to say all non-organic popcorn has any of these chemicals by the time it gets to you, this is just for information to give you a flavor for the world of popcorn agriculture).