Home grown popcorn

Principle 9: Use small and slow solutions

As an experiment in the garden a couple of years ago I planted some shop bought popcorn (from a bulk foods store) in the front yard. Most of it grew, but it wasn't much good for eating fresh, unless you picked it at just the right time. After it dried on the plant I gave most of it to the chickens. Then I got to thinking that I should try popping it. At first I didn't have much success, with not much of the corn popping. I think this has more to do with my technique than the corn itself, a technique that I have now perfected (the corn just burns if the pot isn't hot enough to pop it).
Our kids often have 'Corn Thins' as a snack, a commercial product made from popped corn. These are often buttered and painted with Vegemite. When you think of how much fat and salt is consumed with each one, popcorn with limited butter and salt is probably a healthier alternative.

Corn grown from shop bought popcorn seed, 2nd generation.
The following season I tried again, using the second generation corn seed. After the plants and cobs dried out I harvested them and stored them in the cool cupboard. When the kids call for a snack we thumb off the corn from a couple of cobs, heat a pot (gas on full) with a tablespoon or two of Rice Bran Oil until the oil is real hot. Then we tip in the corn and give the pot a bit of a wobble from time to time. It usually all pops within a minute or two - which the kids love to watch through the glass lid. I tip the popped corn into a large bowl, and then add a knob of butter into the hot pot. The heat from the pot is enough to melt the butter which is then tipped slowly over the corn. With a pinch or two of salt it's ready to eat, and the kids love it. Good for a family movie session too.

Dried popcorn cobs. Kernels are 'thumbed' off into a bowl in preparation for popping.

Two full cobs make a large bowl of popcorn, a great snack for the kids.


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