10 Steps to Successful Microwave Popcorn Popping
reprinted from http://www.safetycenter.navy.mil/media/ashore/default.htm
1. Always make sure the oven is clean. A dirty oven decreases its efficiency.
2. Remove the plastic overwrap and unfold the bag, making sure it has no holes, tears or broken seals. If steam escapes too soon, the bag will not inflate properly, and the popcorn will scorch.
3. Remove the metal rack if your oven has one. The rack could hinder inflation of the bag.
4. If you're using a microwave oven with a carousel, make sure the bag is centered (with proper side down) on it and can rotate freely. The bag stopping could cause the popcorn to scorch. Do not use a plastic turntable, which only can withstand temperatures to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Any microwave popcorn that you use can reach temperatures around 450 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Microwave one bag of popcorn at a time. More than one bag at a time will take the microwave energy away from the popcorn and produce poor results.
6. For best results (higher pop volume and fewer unpopped kernels), preheat the microwave by heating a cup of water for one minute on high. Carefully remove the cup of water before popping the corn. Never turn on your microwave oven when it's empty because you could damage the magnetron tube. The cup of water will absorb the microwave energy and prevent damage to this tube.
7. If poor popping results occur, try raising the popcorn off the oven floor by placing an inverted glass pie plate under the popcorn. Do not use plastic or paper; it can melt or scorch.
8. Set your microwave oven on the manufacturer's recommended time. High-power models (e.g., 1,100 watts) may take just over 1.5 minutes. Listen carefully and stop the microwave when rapid popping slows to two or three seconds between pops. Note the popping time and set accordingly for the next bag.
9. Stopping and restarting your microwave oven while popping can produce poor results. It's better to start out at a higher period of time and remove the corn when the rapid popping slows.
10. Don't leave your microwave unattended while popping corn. Adult supervision is recommended. It's important to watch the bag to make sure it inflates properly while the popcorn is popping. A bag that hasn't inflated right will scorch very quickly.
COPYRIGHT 2003 U.S. Navy Safety Center
Never cook popcorn directly on the bottom!! These little bags have foil strips on the inside, which will instantly discolor the bottom and wrap the turntable. Instead, place popcorn on an inverted plate or bowl.