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Preparation, uses, and tips

Toss popcorn with low-sodium seasonings; try sesame seeds, ground kelp, or a combination of garlic powder, oregano, and Parmesan cheese.

Buying and storing tips

Popcorn may be purchased as bags of raw kernels, in cans, in microwave-ready packages, stove-top pans, or in bulk. Ears of popcorn, the kernels of which pop right on the cob, are also available but are harder to find. Store popcorn, unopened, in a cool, dark cupboard for up to three months. For longer storage, refrigerate or freeze popcorn kernels for up to a year to preserve their natural moisture and allow them to produce larger popped kernels. Popcorn packaged with oil in its own “pan” should be stored no longer than about three months at room temperature. Popcorn is best when eaten soon after it is popped, but ready-to-eat or opened popcorn can be stored in a tightly sealed glass jar for up to two weeks.


Popcorn is available in two main varieties: yellow and white. It can be purchased buttered or unbuttered, or topped with cheese, caramel, or other flavorings. However, plain popcorn is the most healthful choice.

Nutrition Highlights

Popcorn (air-popped, plain), 1 cup (9g)
Calories: 31
Protein: 0.96g
Carbohydrate: 6.2g
Total Fat: 0.33g
Fiber: 1.21g

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