REVIEW: Trader Joe’s – Partially Popped Popcorn …with Butter & Sea Salt!

Rating: ©©©©-1/4 chips  (lip-smacking)

Trader Joe's - Partially Popped Popcorn ...with Butter & Sea Salt!We’re guessing that many of you out there are familiar with the Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, otherwise known by its bleach-blonde, spiky haired host Guy Fieri as ‘Triple D!”  Well, we are sort of the host of this little Chip Review “show”, and we have decided to coin this latest Partially Popped Popcorn snack from Trader Joe’s as ‘Triple P!!’  Ingenious, right?!  Well, at least easier to say three times fast, and for us to type out for the remainder of this review.

From Trader Joe’s website:

It’s popcorn, for sure, but popcorn that’s not fully popped. Our supplier uses a proprietary method in which they first steam a special hybrid of so-called “mushroom” kernels (instead of the fluffier, “butterfly” variety enjoyed in theaters), before heating them in canola oil to a state of half popp-ed-ness.

The finished corn resembles those (accidentally) par-popped kernels found in the bottom of your popcorn bowl. But, unlike those kernels—which can be real jawbreakers—this Partially Popped snack has a blissful bite that exists somewhere between the extreme crunch of corn nuts and the tender chewiness of fresh, fully- popped corn.

Correct us if we are wrong but that process sounds awfully similar to the process used by everyone’s favorite crunchy, corn, gas station snack – Corn Nuts.  According to legend, “Corn nuts are prepared by soaking whole corn kernels in water for three days, then deep-frying them in oil until they are hard and brittle. The kernels are soaked because they shrink during the harvesting and cleaning process, and rehydration returns them to their original size.” (Wikipedia.com)

Well, there’s probably more of a difference in the process than we are alluding to, and we’re guessing that Trader Joe’s and Corn Nuts each use a different style of corn, but the similarities between the two products must be noted.  In fact, we would throw a third corn snack into the mix, to complete the triple popped theme of this review!  Pop’d Kerns are a crunchy corn hybrid snack that we have enjoyed, and reviewed, a few times on this site.  Their popped kerns are closer to a fluffy, fully-popped kernel of popcorn, than either Triple P or Corn nuts.  All three products are lip-smackingly delicious and crunchy in their own way.  In fact, one day we may have a popped corn party, invite all three of these guys, and a whole bunch of popcorn, and just let the good times roll!

Trader Joe’s Triple P embodies a real strong corn essence, and flavor.  They do in fact look like those partially popped kernels you find at the bottom of the popcorn bag or bowl, except that they don’t break your teeth when you chomp down on them.  They do have a very solid crunch, but not one that will send you running to the dentist.  Probably our favorite part of the snack is the dried, real butter powder that is amply coating each of the Triple P’s.  The powder really tastes like butter.  Not like fake, bright yellowish-orange, butter powder on microwave popcorn, but real melted butter.  We love it!

So, if you like Corn Nuts or Pop’d Kerns or the bottom of the popcorn bowl, you will undoubtedly like these too!

P.S. this Partially Popped Popcorn looks an awful lot like another product Trader Joe’s released over a decade ago called Corn a Copius….granted that snack wasn’t butter flavored.  But still, are you trying to pull one over on us Trader Joe’s?!

As always, these are our thoughts, we would love to hear what you think.  Agree or disagree, let us know.

Triple P discovered at Trader Joe’s; La Grange, Illinois

Trader Joe’s Official Website

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REVIEW: Pop’d Kerns – Original

Rating: ©©©©-1/2 chips  (lip-smacking)

Pop'd Kerns - Original“The Perfect Crunch” 

“A corn crunch like no other!”

“Not your grandpappy’s same old crunchy corn snack!”

Alright, you caught us, that last one may not necessarily have come from the packaging, but that doesn’t make it any less true!  Pop’d Kerns, formerly Gladcorn, wants us all to know that their product is not only different than other corn snacks out there on the market, but actually has “the perfect crunch”.  In a snack-y world filled with plenty of crunchy snacks (we’ve tried a few), the proclamation that your snack exudes “the perfect crunch” is a lofty one!

So, do Pop’d Kerns really have the perfect crunch?  To each their own!  Pop’d Kerns are a crunchy corn hybrid snack resting somewhere between a fluffy, fully-popped kernel of popcorn, and an extra hard and crunchy corn kernel snack (think Corn Nuts).  The best way we can describe Pop’d Kerns are full bodied, yet delicately crunchy, and toothsome.

Pop’d Kerns embody corn essence, and exude corn flavor, and even life the corn life, and practice the corn ways, as much as any other corn snack out there.  They evoke the sheer rustic corn aspect of great, freshly cooked corn tortillas, only packed up into tiny crunchy popped kernels.

In our opinion, Pop’d Kerns’ Original flavor are far and away the best example of their crunchy snack.  No seasoning to cover up the naturally delicious corn essence.  Just an ample dusting of good old salt, that perfectly compliments the corn.  Less is more in this case.  In fact, we found plenty of ways to work the versatile Kerns into other snacks and dishes.  They were a salty and crunchy addition to our trail mix.  They fit perfectly in with a meat and cheese platter.  And, most impressively they were our secret, crunchy, weapon, that complimented our dish of fresh and tangy ceviche!

So, for those of you looking for a corn snack with a little more crunchy body than popcorn, but won’t chip a tooth, and you don’t mind if it feels a little bit like you are eating some cattle feed, then Pop’d Kerns certainly may be the crunchy corn snack for you!

As always, these are our thoughts, we would love to hear what you think.  Agree or disagree, let us know.

Kerns provided to Chip Review by Pop’d Kerns for review

Pop’d Kerns Official Website

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REVIEW: Snyder’s of Hanover – Hot Chili Lime Korn Krunchers

Rating: ©©©©-1/4 chips  (lip-smacking)

Snyder's of Hanover - Hot Chili Lime Korn Krunchers

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By now, we all recognize Snyder’s of Hanover (SOH) as the “timeless masters of hard sour dough pretzel snacks” (and just so we are clear here, that is us, quoting ourselves).  And here at Chip Review we can’t even begin to count the number of times we have touted their deserving pretzel making merits!!  Their Pretzel Pieces technique is a thing of delicious genius and beauty, but more on that a bit later.

Rather than remain content, and simply ride the crunchy coat tails of their popular pretzel products, Snyder’s has decided to go  against all forms of rational thinking, and release some “boldly flavored corn snacks” called Korn Krunchers!  So, without further ado, we ask you: what the heck are these things?!?

At first glance, based on the snapshot from the front of the packaging, we would have to say that these Korn Krunchers look exactly like Snyder’s oh-so-delicious Pretzel Pieces.  For any of you out there who are somehow unfamiliar with Snyder’s of Hanover’s Pretzel Pieces let us explain to you our perfect scenario beliefs regarding the deliciously crunchy pretzel pieces.  In a perfect world, SOH would resourcefully use their leftover, broken during the manufacturing process, pretzel pieces to creatively provide us with these tasty bites (unlikely, we know)!  Due to the structure of these “broken” pretzel pieces, they generously expose their very porous, bread-y insides and willfully absorb an ample amount of whatever flavoring SOH is applying.

Well, one glance into the bag and our thoughts are reaffirmed, these Korn Krunchers look identical to the Pretzel Pieces.  Really, no visual difference at all!  In fact, one more glance at the ingredient’s list on the back of the bag shows that low and behold the first ingredient for these Krunchers is not actually corn, but flour!  That’s right F-L-O-U-R, that magical grain that bread-y creations, like say P-R-E-T-Z-E-L-S are made of.  Still, despite all of similarities, we are thrilled to report that the self declared ‘crunchy nuggets’ are truly a unique creation all their own!

Their initial mouth texture crunches just like the hard Pretzel Pieces do, but after a few more chews, the true rustic texture appears, and combines with a strong corn presence reminiscent of deliciously fresh corn tortillas.  After a few more handfuls, and chews, it became apparent that the corn-pretzel hybrids actually have quite a grainy texture, similar to that of a good corn bread.

Their flavoring is quite complimentary to the corn flavored nuggets.  Usually, we expect a brash, spicy chile flavor from the traditional Mexican flavor combo, but somehow Snyder’s has eluded these these negatives and delivered a more mild combination.  The sharp, sour zing of citrus melds with a subtle chile burn, all despite the electric red seasoning liberally coating each Krunchy Korn!

All and all, we love the aspect of these tasty new creations.

Junk Food Guy has already reviewed the other two flavors, and he seems to be a big fan!

As always, these are our thoughts, we would love to hear what you think.  Agree or disagree, let us know.

Discovered at Jewel Osco; Westchester, Illinois

Snyder’s of Hanover Official Website

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