It came as a pleasant surprise, then, for my husband, Kevin, and I to learn that one of our guilty-pleasure meals actually may be better for us than a full-course dinner that’s taken more than an hour to prepare.
When we’re maximizing every moment to meet a deadline or neither of us feels like playing in the kitchen, one of our favorite options is to pop a batch of popcorn and thaw a bowl of frozen strawberries, peaches, cherries and blueberries. Sometimes, we’ll steam a quart of our own edamame, too.
None of which takes much time or effort. It’s even fun — like playing hooky.
Turns out, our speedy little non-meal is packed with a wide range of nutrients. The antioxidents and vitamins in the fruit is obvious; that’s how we’ve justified it over the years.
It’s the popcorn that comes as a bonus. Recent analyses have shown that we should jettison our guilt: Popcorn made without heavy additions of sugar and fat is a treasure trove of goodness. The complex carbohydrate has more concentrated antioxidants than fruit; it’s a true whole grain, rich in fiber with a fair amount of protein.
I learned of popcorn’s powerhouse properties while evaluating seed varieties for the coming year. I’ve been trying to decide whether to stick to a traditional white, rice-kernel-style popcorn like my father grew or take a chance on an exotic variety.
The organic kernels we’ve been buying are the common, yellow pearl style. They pop up light and fluffy after taking a dip in olive oil in a stovetop pan, but they lack the nutty nuances I recall from my childhood. What we grew then definitely had smaller kernels, but they were full of flavor.
The Dakota black and strawberry varieties from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. have received rave reviews for growing ease as well as taste. But, Territorial Seed Co. has a multi-colored variety with kernels in shades of yellow, brown, white, purple, red and blue. It’s stunning — like Indian corn.
Regardless of which I choose, the addition of our own popcorn to the mix (with the promise of ample blueberry and cherry crops) would result in a healthy convenience meal made entirely of our own produce.
Maybe sometimes you can have it quick, easy and nutritious!