Popcorn Poppers: Frequently Asked Questions:
What Size Popcorn Machine Do I Need?
The best way to determine the actual size machine you will need is to figure out how many one-ounce servings you will go through in your busiest hour. A one-ounce serving is a bag approximately 3 -1/2 " wide by 2" deep and 8" tall (if you use a different serving size, convert it to one ounce servings). Divide the number of one-ounce servings per hour by 16 and you will have the size machine you will need to meet your busiest demand. Example: In the busiest hour you use 125 one-ounce servings. 125 divided by 16 equals 7.81, so you should order an eight-ounce machine.
Why are hard-coat anodized aluminum kettles
considered the best?
When you are cooking popcorn there are two key elements, heat transfer and ease of cleaning. Aluminum provides the best heat transfer of any approved cooking material which means that the heat from the elements transfer completely to the food resulting in much better performance. When you anodize aluminum you are changing the molecular surface of the aluminum and filling in the pores of the material. This makes a very smooth and slippery surface which can be cleaned very easily and is extremely durable.
What makes popcorn pop?
A popcorn kernel actually has approximately 12% moisture inside of it. As you heat up the kernel the moisture turns into steam and expands. Once the kernel reaches 475 degrees Fahrenheit the expanding steam forces the hull to explode (or pop).
How long does it take to cook a batch of popcorn?
All Paragon poppers are design to cook a kettle of kernels in approximately 3-1/2 minutes. The cycle time is based on having the kettle heated to cooking temperature before loading the kettle.
What type of oil should I use to cook popcorn?
The type of oil that you use will effect the taste of the popcorn. The most common type that is used is coconut oil. It normally is regarded as the best tasting and has long been a staple at movie theaters. However, many health conscious people prefer canola oil due to its lower fat and cholesterol content. Other types that are often used are sunflower, peanut and soy.
What's the best way to keep my popcorn machine clean?
All Paragon poppers utilize tempered glass panels, stainless steel cleanout trays, aluminum corner posts and either plated or anodized kettles. These surfaces can be cleaned using standard window cleaner. You will want to note that you should never submerge a kettle in any type of liquid because it has electrical components inside of it that can short out. Paragon kettles are designed to be wiped out with a clean cloth after each use. Should you have a kettle that gets burned on oil stains you can order Paragon's kettle cleaning kit (part# 1075) which will allow you to clean it to near new conditions.
What is "expansion ratio" on popcorn and what is the optimum level?
Expansion ratio refers to the increase in volume that occurs as popcorn pops. It is determined by measuring the volume of popcorn prior to and after popping. An expansion ratio between 40 and 44 is usually considered ideal. If the expansion is less than 40 the popped corn can be a little chewy and if the expansion ratio is over 44 the popcorn becomes very brittle and tends to break apart into small pieces.
What is recommended for a Paragon popper's oil and popcorn?
You can use Coconut, Sunflower, or Canola oil, as they taste great and can take the heat well without scorching our commercial popper kettles. While Coconut has been used for years in theaters for it's flavor, the fat content is quite high and with butter, it is a very unhealthy combination. For healthy oil options that are more "heart friendly" and much lower in fat, please use Sunflower, or Canola oil. For 4 oz. poppers, buy a 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup stainless steel measuring cup and use the 1/4 for oil and the 1/2 for popcorn portions.
Experiment with the popcorn you use, as there's no special popcorn needed for commercial poppers. We've used organic gourmet popcorn with great results ($$$), but have also liked Orville Redenbacher's® White Gourmet ($$), as it pops bigger, is crispy, yet tastes a little lighter not quite as oily. We've even had good results with dependable and affordable Jolly Time® popcorn ($) - it's just a little more chewy then the others, but very good flavor when using with just oil alone. Don't be afraid to try different popcorn until you find your own favorite brand.
To get even better popcorn flavor, yet keep the fat content down, we recommend shake-on popcorn seasonings, as each person can use their own favorite topping on each individual serving. Butter, Caramel, Kettle, Ranch, Barbeque, Cajun, Jalapeno, Nacho & White Cheddar and even Chocolate Marshmallow popcorn flavor shaker are available from a company such as "Kernal Seasonings" - our favorite brand. Using these seasonings, along with either Sunflower, or Canola oil will make for a healthier, yet flavor-packed popcorn experience.
Here's a handy chart for measuring the oil and popcorn used in our commercial popcorn popper products:
|Size - 4 Ounce Kettle||Size - 6 Ounce Kettle||Size - 8 Ounce Kettle|
|Oil||1/4 Cup||1/4 Cup||1/3 Cup|
|Popcorn||1/2 Cup||3/4 Cup||1 Cup|