Smoke Signals Popcorn

For the past few years we have been growing organic sweet corn. We decided over the winter that it may be time to try out popcorn. The decision was based on the fact that there is sweet corn for sale on every corner in this area and we eat a ton of popcorn during the course of a year so we thought it just made sense.

Popcorn is an interesting food. In tombs in Peru there were kernels so well preserved that they could still be popped. A 1,700-year-old painted funeral urn in Mexico had a corn god on it wearing a headdress of popcorn. One can see why it would be such an important food source for early civilizations since it grows so easily and stores so well. It was also one of the few crops that American farmers were able to succesfully grow and sell during the Great Depression.

We grew a beautiful decorative variety called Smoke Signals. As usual we bought our seed from the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa. We are getting ready to try out some kernels tonight, fingers crossed I am a little weary about how much moisture is needed or not needed and how one can tell if it is ready or not. Basically I am doing it all by a feeling deep in my gut, which simply may be hunger pains for popcorn.

Like all varieties of corn popcorn is a huge nitrogen feeder so you will want to keep this in mind if you decide to grow it. You will want to allow the corn for the most part to dry on the stalk and then bring it in for a few days to make sure it is free of mold. Afterwards make sure you store it in a cool dry place. I had thought a paper bag would work but upon further reading it seems you run the risk of drying the kernels out too much and then they won't pop so you want to put them in an air tight container, such as a glass jar. Good luck and enjoy!

Tobias Whitaker blogs for Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine. Click on the Mother Earth News logo at the bottom of the page for all of his post. You can also find him on Facebook at Seed To Harvest: Bossy Hen Homestead which is a central location for his homesteading blogs and his homeschooling blog, A Mile In Her Shoes: Tales Of A Stay-At Home Dad found here


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