LOS ANGELES, CA , September 4, 2015 – Popcorn is a favorite treat for families, office workers and travelers. It is found in grocery stores, pharmacies and conveyance stores. Hotels often place a complementary bag of unpopped microwave popcorn in your room.
But is that microwave popcorn safe?
The FDA has reported that a chemical coating used in microwave popcorn bags breaks down when heated into a substance called perfluorooctanoic (PFOA), which the EPA has identified as a “likely carcinogen.” Another study has found an acid that can be extracted from the chemical causes cancer in animals and is “likely to cause cancer in humans.”
That tasty butter flavoring may harbor a second potential danger: diacetyl. Diacetyl is an FDA-approved chemical found in the flavoring. “Popcorn workers lung,” (bronchiolitis obliterans) is a disease suffered by microwave popcorn factory workers caused by extended inhalation of diacetyl’s fumes. (Read more: Dangers of Microwave Popcorn)
The FDA jury is still out on that but why take the chance when you can use the Lekue reusable microwave popcorn popper.
Lekue prides themselves on being fun and practical and their popcorn popper are both those things with its bright red collapsable bowl that is easy to clean and store. The bowl can be used to pop, and serve, the popcorn as the silicon does not heat up in the process.
Unlike the sealed microwave popcorn bag, the Lekue lets you “gourmet” your popcorn addingherbs, spices and sweetness before the popping. You will need to experiment, but even melted butter added to the oil (you can’t completely replace the oil with butter) adds that REAL butter flavor we all love.
If the Lekue popcorn maker is as simple as it says we will also be able to choose various types of kernels, yellow, white, or gourmet brands, that we pop and the types of flavorings we add – butter, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, dill and the list goes on and on.
The Lekue products are hit and miss. Some of them we have loved and found that they go above and beyond our expectations while others fall by the way side, so the critical test begins (always wash and dry your Lekue silicon bowl before using):
Test 1: ½ cup popped corn for 2 minutes:
Step 1: We poured 1/2 cup of popcorn kernals into the bowl.
Step 2: We added oil and salt and mixed it around.
Step 4: We placed the entire thing into the microwave for two minutes.
Step 5: When the time was finished we removed the maker from the microwave and poured the contents into a bowl to see how many “old maids” (unpopped kernals were left). The top was filled with popped corn but there was about ¼ cup of popcorn seeds on the bottom unpopped.
Reducing the amount of popcorn to 1/4 of a cup, we found that more of the kernals popped. You will need to adjust the amount of kernals and oil for your microwave, as all microwaves have various strengths.
Popping 1/2 cup of kernals for a longer time (3 ½ minutes vs. 2 as in our first test) we found that the popcorn burnt. As the strength of your microwave and the freshness of the popcorn (older popcorn will “dry out” and it is the moisture in the kernal that heats up and causes the popcorn to explode)
The popcorn maker worked well in 2 of the 3 tests and was similar to popping in a bag but with a more decorative bowl.
First, It’s a great size, color and texture.
Second, the instructions are easy to use.
Third, Gives the consumer the choice to pop a variety of different kernels with simplicity.
Fourth, It works consistently and with practice the consumer would be able to master it.
Fifth, easy to clean.
Bonus pro: The Lekue popper bowl will become your most used microwave bowl as its shape and loose lid will also be perfect to steam heat vegetables, or reheat fluffy rice and pastas. Due to its collapsing feature, you want to be careful and not use it to boil water, or other heavy items with a lot of “fluid” or fats as it could collapse and cause serious burns.
First, Similar to a bag it doesn’t always pop every single kernel.
Overall Rating: 3/4 cup out of 1 cup. The Lekue popcorn maker is a good product with a great price point. This product does exactly what it says it does.
Purchasing Info: The Lekue microwave popcorn popper can be found at Bed, Bath and Beyond, Bloomingdales, Amazon.com and on their website at lekueusa.com for around $19.99. For more great cooking tips, recipes and stories from Chef Mary, visit her at Hail Mary Food of Grace on CDN and her website.
Follow Chef Mary on Twitter @chefmarymoran