Can You Toss Vinegar on Freshly Popped Popcorn?

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The tang of vinegar and the crunch of fresh popcorn make a good snacking combo, but you need to consider a few things before you start eating. There is a fine line between seasoned and soggy, and between a complementary flavor and an overwhelming one. Crossing these lines will result in a snacking experience you're likely to want to forget.

Playing the Field

  • Vinegar-flavored popcorn might make you think of basic white vinegar, and while that will add flavor, you can take it deeper. Apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar will create flavor profiles with more depth. You might not have considered using your best aged balsamic vinegar on popcorn, but once you give it a try, you may be hooked.

The Proper Technique

  • There's more than one way to top your popcorn with vinegar, but if your goal is to coat each kernel with vinegar flavor, then tossing it all together in a bag is a wise choice. Add your freshly made popcorn to a large paper bag, then sprinkle salt and the vinegar of your choice over the top. Close the bag and give it a good shake to spread the vinegar around. Don't wait too long or the hot popcorn will absorb the vinegar and it won't spread. If you have used microwave popcorn, just use the bag you popped it in.

Know Your Limits

  • It might take some experimentation to figure out the exact vinegar-to-popcorn ratio you like, so take it slow. Remember that you can always add more, but once it is in there, it isn't coming back. Every type of vinegar has a distinct taste, so you might need less than you think for the right balance.

Keeping It Real

  • There is no shortage of salt and vinegar flavorings at the store to sprinkle on popcorn, but keep an eye on the ingredients. Some brands contain monosodium glutamate, and some people react badly to MSG. Not to mention, the vinegar taste in these products seems artificial if you're used to the real thing. Keep it real with authentic, liquid vinegar and some sea salt for real salt-and-vinegar taste.

Flavor Variations

  • Vinegar works well on fresh popped popcorn, but it isn't the only flavor that will boost the taste of this snack. You can try a variety of savory and sweet toppings to enhance your popcorn. Try chopped dill, granulated garlic, mustard, grated Parmesan, brown sugar or caramel.

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