“Popcorn is such a great snack. It is easy to forget how easy and cheap it is to prepare at home.” (Leanne Brown, Eat Well on $4 a day, Good and Cheap).
Thanks to Leanne’s encouragement and a $2 bag of popcorn, the Bautista family has been enjoying homemade buttered popcorn as a treat and snack. My eight year old may not care much about price or nutrition, but she is of the opinion that buttered popcorn “is fun” and screamed in delight when she pulled the lid off the popcorn pot too early. My twelve year old also has an opinion, “I didn’t think I liked popcorn until I tried homemade buttered popcorn”, because “it tastes good. Can I have some more? LEAVE SOME FOR ME!!”
There are aroma chemicals that smell like popcorn, but I have never been asked to make “popcorn flavor”. I remember International Flavors and Fragrance (IFF) used a three month fermentation process to manufacturer a chemical they called “Popcorn chemical” and it was $20K/pound. This was in the early 1990’s and I have been unable to find all my notes on this material. If anyone remembers it, please remind me why it was so special and so expensive.
Less expensive aromatics are available for popcorn flavor, such as 2-Acetyl pyridine (FEMA 3251) and 2-Acetyl pyrazine (FEMA 3126). Pyridines have one nitrogen molecule and are different than the pyrazines which have two nitrogen molecules. Although the general aroma profile is similar between these two functional groups (roasted and green), the pyridines seem to be more powerful. Use pyridines and pyrazines cautiously, and start at 0.5-1.0 ppm.
Who needs popcorn flavor? Perhaps Jelly Belly® Company, which makes the ever so popular, buttered popcorn Jelly Belly®. My girls toured the factory in California with their aunt and learned that buttered popcorn Jelly Belly® jelly beans have a big fan base. I personally find them “interesting”.
For those of you who want to know more about popcorn flavor, check out Flavor Chemistry of Popcorn. Let me know how your flavor turns out and where to find it. Also, if you decide to pop corn homemade style, let me know how that turns out as well.