Ever wondered how take a dried corn cob and turn it into homemade popcorn? Are you interested in growing your own so homemade popcorn can be an everyday occurrence? Let’s chat.
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Growing Popcorn on the Cob
We were down the road at our neighborhood farm and saw a bunch of dried corn cobs lazing around in a small bucket. What ho! Popcorn?
It was indeed popcorn – one yellow and one red. Well, all five of my kids were with me and so, naturally, we bought several of each color and would have cleaned them out if my wallet had held up.
Have you ever grown your own popcorn? Did you know it’s different from the sweet corn that we eat all summer? Popcorn is different from sweet corn, the corn we reserve for heaps of butter and Sunday afternoons.
I’ve always been curious about growing popcorn but I’ll need to isolate it from my sweet corn because they will cross pollinate. If they do that, each will ruin the other. Crossed popcorn becomes too soft to pop and sweet corn becomes hard and nasty.
The best way, in my opinion, to control cross pollination in different varieties of corn is to isolate them by time. You do this by planting one variety one week and a different variety two weeks later. This requires planning and thinking, so you can see where I might struggle with the idea a bit.
After purchasing and using popcorn cobs, I’m really inspired to try it.
The one thing I can’t control is what varieties of corn my neighbors will plant and since corn is wind pollinated….
Here’s how to grow your own popcorn from Mother Earth News.
Here’s how to dry your homegrown popcorn – no, you can’t eat it the day of harvest. Sadly.
It should be pointed out that if you use an heirloom variety of popcorn, AND prevent cross-contamination, you can save some dried kernels back for planting next year.
Get the Popcorn Off the Cob
Before you can make homemade popcorn, you’ve got to get the kernels off the cob.
We took the cobs we had and spread out some tablecloths on the kitchen floor. The kids tried butter knives and banging the cobs together. They also tried plastic spoons and banging the cobs on each other.
Instead of whacking your family with the cobs, try this method:
- Wash your hands and dry them well.
- Over a large bowl or mat, pop off a few popcorn kernels with your fingers or a butter knife.
- Clear an area about an inch in diameter.
- From there, start twisting the cob between both hands.
- Pile the kernels from your cobs and gently blow away the light chaff that falls from the cobs.
- Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place.
The freshly dried popcorn popped up beautifully. We use an air popper most often because they’re quick and easy. We usually melt butter and coconut oil together, add a touch of sea salt and mix that all together with the homemade popcorn.
If you’d prefer to use a stove-top popper, here’s a healthy way to do that.
We noticed that the yellow kernels made a golden colored popcorn and the red kernels made a popcorn with a decidedly rosy hue.
Recipes for Homemade Popcorn
For a truly divine experience, try making this Coconut Chocolate Popcorn from The Untrained Housewife.
We don’t have a microwave so this one was new to me but Angi over at Schneider Peeps was getting her son ready for college and the only cooking apparatus they’d allow in the dorm room was a microwave so they figured out how to pop corn kernels in a glass bowl in his little unit. Necessity = Invention.
Here’s a sweet and salty popcorn recipe from Whole Lifestyle Nutrition. Oh, and this delectable Maple Popcorn recipe from Schneider Peeps.
And don’t toss those corn cobs! Here are a few ideas on how to use those dried corn cobs (ignore the first two since they apply only to fresh corn cobs).
*Cover graphic gratefully attributed to this Wikimedia Commons user.