Start This Recipe 10 minutes before you want to eat it (Popcorn); 36 hours before you want to eat it (Peanuts)

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We’ll be traveling around a bit this summer and so having some nutritious snacks for the road is on my mind. The kiddos recently were introduced to Cracker Jack, which they just love. They even think the chintzy little “prizes” are cool (and those prizes have gotten a lot chintzier over the years, haven’t they??) So I picked out these two recipes thinking we’d mix them together and have some great road food, with all of the good things about Cracker Jack (the popcorn and the peanuts) and not the bad (the sugar and the corn syrup). But once I made the popcorn no one wanted to wait around for the peanuts, so we just ate them separately. No one seemed too disappointed.

Both recipes get 4 thumbs up. My current diet restrictions don’t allow for corn or peanuts, and the Peanut (ironically) doesn’t have enough teeth for either snack. She did try her best to get some popcorn from the Pickle, who refused to give it to her, which only made her scream louder.

Popcorn (Nourishing Traditions, page 521)

  • 1/4 cup popcorn
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • sea salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/4-1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Melt your butter. If using Parmesan, mix it into the hot butter and stir until melted.

Sally doesn’t mention when to do this step, but I’ll tell you from experience that you want your warm butter to go on warm popcorn. Get your butter ready before popping your corn. We chose to make the Cheese Popcorn variation. There is also a Sweet Popcorn variation that would work nicely for a Cracker Jack substitute.

2. Place oil and corn in a large, heavy skillet. Cover tightly and cook over a medium flame, shaking constantly until popping starts. Lower heat slightly and cook, shaking, until popping dies away.

The best part about making popcorn in our house is this ancient contraption in which we get to make it. I love this popcorn maker! It predates any popcorn-machine safety standards. Just look at these coils:

There’s nothing like living on the edge by making popcorn.

So we used our trusty popcorn maker instead of the skillet method that Sally recommends. We used the same proportions of ingredients.

Corn generally requires a special soaking method in order to release nutrients and make it more digestible. In this recipe, the corn is not soaked, so Sally notes that one should not overindulge in popcorn. I actually can’t find a reason why the kernels aren’t first soaked and then dried and then popped. There is some speculation that it would disrupt the moisture content and make it not pop properly. I’ve also read that it sprouts pretty readily once it is soaking. Does anyone know? I’d love to know if anyone’s tried it.

3. Transfer popcorn to a large bowl. Dribble on melted butter mixture and sprinkle with sea salt. Mix well and serve.

Sally says that this recipe yields 8 cups, but I disagree. I only got about 5-6 cups.

Peanuts (Nourishing Traditions, page 514)

  • 4 cups raw peanuts skinless
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • water

1. Mix peanuts with salt and water and leave in a warm place for at least 7 hours or overnight.

Of course, you’ve already read my post a few weeks ago about soaking Pepitas and so you know all about this process and why we should do it. But just in case you missed it, you can read all about it here. For the sake of this post, I’ll just say that soaking your nuts before hand makes them more digestible and also makes the nutrients more available. It’s a win-win.

2. Drain in a colander. Spread on a stainless steel baking pan and place in a warm oven (no more than 150 degrees) for 12-24 hours, turning occasionally, until completely dry and crisp. Store in an airtight container.

These guys took a really long time to crisp up. I left them in for about 24 hours and they still could have withstood some more crisping. Even so, everyone loved them and gave their approval.

If I can ever time these two recipes to be done at the same time, maybe I’ll try again for a Nourishing Traditions version of Cracker Jack. You’ll be the first to know about it if I do.

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