Used to be that I had to wait until the county fair came around during the summer, or sometimes if I got lucky, I might go to a ball game that was selling some. I know they sell it at the farmer's markets, but I sheepishly admit that I never get out of the house in time to make it there.
Then suddenly, kettle corn was all over the supermarket shelves. I was very skeptical. How on earth could they keep the buttery, sweet goodness crisp if it's not freshly popped? I've had pre-popped pop corn in packages before, and they always disappointed. Not to mention they are usually over-priced.
One day at Whole Foods, I caved at the display and decided to try a bag. The brand was called Popcorn, Indiana, and was on sale for $3 from $4 so I thought, what the heck? Turns out I was wrong about the sale and the bag rung up for $4 at check out. This better be some good stuff, I thought.
And it was. It was soooo good - better than any kettle corn I've ever tasted. Each and every kernel was crispy with the sweet/salty coating, something you don't get from the fresh popped stuff (as if they were skimpy with it or something), in which I usually have to pick out the browner and shiny kernels since those are usually the crispy ones.
Since then I've also tried the Trader Joe's Brand. It's half the price at $2 a bag, and pretty good too. The kernels are crispy but they don't have the same coating the Popcorn, Indiana bag does. I've also finally made it to the farmer's market and bought some of the fresh popped stuff (Gold Rush) at $5 for an enormous bag. What a disappointment. And it was terrible compared to Popcorn, Indiana. Many of the kernels were stale, and I had to fish for the good pieces. And who needs that much popcorn anyway?
I no longer need to wait for special occasions, and I went out and bought another bag right away of Popcorn, Indiana. So if you love kettle corn as much as I do, buy Popcorn, Indiana. Don't eat directly from the bag and wrap up air-tight each time and it will be just as good in two weeks. And trust me, it took a lot of will power to keep the bag around for that long.