Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Big Bear's the Pop'rs Pilot in Charge!

Thanks so much to all of you who have commented so far with suggestions for Big Bear and Little Red's Rehearsal Dinner. Aunt Julie, The Pop'r Queen, really appreciates the help! Remember, every comment this week earns you one additional entry in the Great Pop'rs Giveaway--for info on the Giveaway and ways to earn extra entries, click here.


Which brings me to our little tidbit for today. All of you winners out there are probably wondering how we concoct the delightful, fun and nutritious seasonings known as Pop'rs. Well, I'm here to testify!

The photo above shows Big Bear (on the right) with Pop'rs Operations Guru Jim, manning a contraption known as The Pilot. Attractive hairnets, fellas! See the steam coming off The Pilot? That's part of how Pop'rs begin life up at Uncle Lynn's plant.

Aunt Julie explains how all this works: "The Pilot machine makes a seven- to ten-pound batch and is used for experimentation. The first time we made sugar-free popping candy, we did it on The Pilot. It is used when we don’t want to experiment on a big batch of 20 to 30 pounds, because of the cost of ingredients. All of our products are started on The Pilot."

Because of the experimental nature involved in using The Pilot, Julie says, "We made once made Jalapeño Pops, a candy with jalapeño flavor, instead of, say, cherry. Not good! We also tried and flopped with a bacon-flavored Pop'rs." You see, Faithful Readers, it's a good thing that The Pop'r Family experiments with The Pilot before the product reaches the customer!

"Another little aside in the process," Aunt Julie continues, "is that we fill tubes, they cool, and are 'dropped' into a barrel, under pressure. The Pop'rs break into bits ranging from dust to golf ball-sized pieces. The bigger ones are a hoot to eat. It took guts the first time we tried this procedure; it will almost lift you off the ground!"

Auntie J. explains that since they are carbonated crystals, Pop'rs are made under a lot of pressure, which is the fun part of using them to season your veggies. "But we can't sell the big rock pieces," Julie says, "because they are so sensitive to the touch. I had some packed in a plastic jar with a screw top, and it got bumped. It blew up the jar, but the top was still screwed on!" By the time the product reaches the customer, though, it's reduced to tiny little pieces, so no worries there!

BTW, the word about our fun little ol' product is spreading! Megan, over at Reed's Home for Our Savior, says she's an "official" Pop'rs user now. "We enjoyed listening to our chimichangas 'talk' as I sprinkled on the Pop'rs," Megan writes in a recent post. "Even my hubby, who generally has a distaste for kiddie stuff, asked for some on his." Thanks for the endorsement, Megan!

And Smoochiefrog, she of In the Mind of a Thirty Something Mom, is celebrating her First Blogaversary this week by giving away a complete set of Pop'rs--all eight flavors! Her family has been trying Pop'rs on foods as varied as veggies, yogurt, ice cream and cinnamon rolls. She says she's gonna sprinkle some Color Burst Pop'rs on watermelon soon. "They really are fun to eat, and they give those extra vitamins that you totally can't tell are there. Fun and good for ya! Who knew?" Thanks, Smooch, and enjoy the celebration!

You, too, Dear Readers, can get in on the action. Big Bear's manning the Pilot, and is ready to put your Pop'rs into production! Please enter our Great Pop'rs Giveaway and join the fun!

17 comments:

quitecontrary1977 said...

I didn't you were making Pop'rs seasonings yourself. Wild! You have a little factory going! That is so awesome!

Corey~living and loving said...

wow! interesting to see some work in action.

Scary Mommy said...

Wow! Those do sound awesome! Have you seen that show Unwrapped on the Food Network? I feel like I just watched it- very cool!

auntjulie said...

We'd love to be on Unwrapped, but our process is patented and a very well-guarded secret, so don't think that would work! It is a lot of fun, though. Thanks!

Blarney said...

Hi & Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day!
Have a great day!

Adiel said...

Ah! I can't believe it. All this time you've been leaving me nice comments on my blog and I only just realized your blog isn't on my reader! How foolish of me. This mistake has been rectified now so no worries. I'm going to have to look into these Pop'rs things. I have no problem eating fruits and veggies, I love them, but it would be nice to mix things up once in a while.

Lula! said...

Y'all totally need to be on Food Network. And I totally need to be ordering some Pop'rs.

Z's Mom said...

Thats pretty interesting....especially those big exploding chunks. Did you play with some of those on the 4th of July????

LisaPetrarcaBlog said...

LOVE the pics and info, really interesting stuff. Would love to win!!

Thanks for commenting on my pics and to answer your question, YES, I have insomnia so I'm usually up until around 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. every night (oops morning) and I stalk the SITS website to get first, I don't know if it's a sickness or just SUPER COMPETITIVE!LOL!

greedygrace said...

But where do you find a Pilot? It's not like you can get one at your local Wal-Mart! Did Uncle Lynn invent the machine himself? Or is there a seasoning-making factory where you buy all your equipment?

Fascinating stuff!

Brandy said...

I love seeing how things are made...and frankly, I'm glad that the jalapeno ones never made it...ewwwwwwwww!

I got my pop'rs at the end of last week and I've been trying to work it into my menu for this coming week. My husband keeps asking "but what are they?" I think he really wants to try the buffalo ones. LOL!

As soon as I decide what yummy goodness I'm making with them I will let you know!

Thanks for stopping by again! I really enjoy all your comments.

auntjulie said...

OOPS! I answered Greedygrace, but posted in on yesterday...so...why, yes Uncle Lynn did invent the machine we use to make our popping candy, with the help of the Hard Candy God of the Universe, Professor Rich at the University of WI. They had some fun and some close calls, too!

Marla said...

i love the photo!

Melisa@andbabywillmake4 said...

I like seeing things in action! Thanks for a peek into production!!

blueviolet said...

I love this little peek into how it's made. Thank you; it was so interesting!
doot65[at]comcast[dot]net

Betty said...

What a great picture. They look like they are having fun. Thanks for the inside scoop on Pop'rs.

jan said...

Very Interesting! Keep the info coming. I am a "newbee" to the sight.
Thanks,
Jan