Make Homemade Popcorn from a Dried Ear of Popcorn

Ever wondered how take a dried corn cob and turn it into homemade popcorn?  Learn to grow, dry and harvest kernels for fresh popcorn with this easy tutorial. popcorn with dried ears of corn and kernels

It’s no secret that popcorn was invented just for movie night, right?  If you’re looking for more ways to bring your family closer this season and all year round, be sure to sign up to learn about the release of our newest book, Homestead Holidays!  Filled with practical, hands-on projects, information, crafts and recipes, this book covers the major holidays of the homestead calendar year.  That’s not all, though – Homestead Holidays also touches on subjects like bedtime rituals, birthday celebrations, the Tooth Fairy and, yes, family movie night.  Put the HOME in homestead with Homestead Holidays!

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Growing Popcorn on the Cob

Have you ever grown your own popcorn?  Popcorn is different from sweet corn, which is the corn we reserve for heaps of butter and Sunday afternoons.

If you want to grow popcorn, you’ll need to isolate it from 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. 

Here is an article on everything you’d like to know about growing popcorn.

To dry popcorn on the cob you can simply hang it by the husk in a place with good air circulation and low humidity.  You have to experiment a bit with your climate to hit a sweet spot of dehydration for optimal popping.  Without fancy hygrometers to measure the moisture in your popcorn, you’ll just have to do your best to guess.

Here’s one popcorn grower who wanted to speed up the dehydration process just a bit so he could enjoy his popcorn right away.  He conducted a fascinating little experiment that’s worth a few minutes to watch.

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.  This is a great job for kids.

  1. Spread out some tablecloths or sheets to catch all the kernels.
  2. Use your fingers to pry loose some kernels.  Once a few are out, the rest come more easily.
  3. Pick out bits of cob that might fall into your pile.

Word to the wise, don’t let your kids try banging the cobs on each other to get the kernels loose – it does’t work.  Ask me how I know. 

How to make homemade popcorn from a dried ear of popcorn - www.homesteadlady.com - fun project for kids!

More Details and Reminders

Homemade Popcorn from a Dried Ear of Corn

  1. Remember to wash your hands and dry them well.
  2. You may want to work over a large bowl, but still put down sheets to catch wayward kernels. 
  3. Once you’ve cleared an area about an inch in diameter on the cob, the kernels come out so much easier.  If you have very small children helping you, do this step for them and then hand over the cob.
  4. Twisting the cob between both hands is also effective at removing kernels.
  5. Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place.  How to make homemade popcorn from a dried ear of popcorn - www.homesteadlady.com - popcorn kernals - who knew they were pretty!!
Popcorn Cob Scraper

Our Stoney Acres has an article detailing a wooden scraper he makes to get his popcorn off the cob.  This might not work for the kids just because of hand strength and coordination, but it would make it SO much easier when I’m doing it.  Maybe the grown ups should have a contest!

Here’s the link for Removing Popcorn Kernels from Stoney Acres.

Homemade Popcorn

Freshly dried popcorn pops up beautifully if dried well.  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, we have a great method highlighted at the end of this post.

We noticed that the yellow kernels made a golden colored popcorn and the red kernels made a popcorn with a decidedly rosy hue.How to make homemade popcorn from a dried ear of popcorn - www.homesteadlady.com - the red kernals make light pink popcorn and the yellow kernals make a butter colored popcorn

Recipes for Homemade Popcorn

Below are some wonderful ways to use popcorn, including how to pop it on the stove top.

Homemade Popcorn Resources

How to make homemade popcorn from a dried ear of popcorn - www.homesteadlady.com - farmgirl popcorn 

*Cover graphic gratefully attributed to this Wikimedia Commons user.

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19 thoughts on “Make Homemade Popcorn from a Dried Ear of Popcorn

  1. That looks so fun, and the children look so happy! I grew a small patch of corn once, sweet corn. I had a true square foot garden (Mel Bartholomew style) at the time so only 16 plants fit in the square. I remember shaking each stalk to make sure every one was pollenated. Helping the corn do it’s thing was a pretty neat feeling. 🙂

    1. I grew corn in my square foot garden once but decided I wouldn’t again because I didn’t want to let the goats loose to eat up the stalks in my garden so I had to dig them out by hand – yikes! Now I grow corn somewhere with fencing so the animals can just have at it when I’m done harvesting. This year I ditched corn altogether because I just didn’t have time or energy. I discovered that I like buying it from farmers and will probably do so again as long as I can find organic, non-gmo. It’s such a space hog in the garden! Although, I do like to see it waving in the breeze and watch the bees on it all day…

    1. It was a pretty cool thing; I’m always amazed at the food we can make right here at home! I went and linked to Real Foods Friday and pinned in to my Homestead Blog Hops Pintrest board so I’ll remember it from here on out. Thanks for the invite!

  2. We grow popcorn every other year. Our favorite is Japanese hulless. We have done other varieties as well. It stores great in jars with an oxygen absorb er for years. The way you shelled it is best unless you can find a corn sheller at an estate sale or antique shop. Thank you for sharing on Rural Wisdom and Know How. I hope to hear from you again next week. And, you are man enough to grow popcorn.

    1. Awesome! Thank you for the encouragement! I’ve read about Japanese hulless and am glad to know it grows for you. An every other year rotation is a great idea! How close are your closest corn growing neighbors – ever had a problem with cross pollination?

  3. Mom used to raise popcorn when we were growing up. She would put the cobs ( after shelling) in a small amount ( about one inch) of kerosene to start fires in the wood stove.

  4. There is nothing like farm fresh popcorn! I grow my corns together. Different varieties mature at different rates, so I haven’t had a problem with cross-pollination ruining my corn. I don’t save seed from it though, because that’s where you really see the pollination issues… I found this on the Backyard Farming Connection. 🙂

  5. We tried raising popcorn for the first time this year. We have a pretty short season but I did find some shorter season popcorn (smaller ears) to grow too. Still I think they might not have had quite enough time. We have some ears of it in the house finishing up drying and we did try popping one batch in a kettle on the stove. I was very excited because it was popping like crazy but when I took the lid off only a very few had fully popped open and out – most of them still looked like seeds. They were very tender seeds however and the kids enjoyed eating them anyway. We are looking forward to trying again.

  6. WOW I never thought to grown my own popcorn!! I actually don’t eat it that much any more unless at the movies…I know I know…killing myself slowly. But that is my only indulgence. 🙂 Great post.

  7. Hi there! I found your blog through Fresh Food Wednesday. Thank you and I would love it if you dropped by my blog, homegardenjoy.com. We have a lot in common. I’m trying to “homestead” – ha! More like make a mess 🙂 I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    1. So glad you stopped by and I’m happy to return the visit. Don’t you sometimes wish it was part of our culture to still “pay calls”, with a calling card and everything? Been reading too much Austen!
      Every homestead is a mess so you must be doing something right!

  8. Hi Tessa, I saw your comment on the webpage DIYHomeThings that used these photographs without permission in a collage (and then slapped their watermark on them!) I noticed it because they have taken 9 of my posts (that I’ve found!) and turned them into collages without permission. I’ve had no luck leaving comments (don’t think they care about the legality, to be honest) but I have had luck filing a DMCA notice with their host. If you’d like to do the same, to get your content taken down, their host is Rackspace and the email is abuse@rackspace.com. Just thought I’d let you know–content thieves are the worst!

    1. Thank you, thank you! I’ve been meaning to go back and deal with this all week! You just made it so much easier!

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