September 14, 2010

Homegrown Popcorn

This weekend Evelyn was puttering around the yard with a mini wheelbarrow, hauling things here and there. Dolls from the porch to the treehouse. Piggie from the picnic table to the steps. Leaves from the raked pile to back under the tree (gee, thanks Evie) One of her trips took her by what was the popcorn patch and she returned with four ears of corn that I'd missed when I was ripping out the stalks last week.
Our sweet corn did dismally this year, ripped to shreds by the freak storm we had mid summer, right about the time that the ears were just starting to look promising. We ended up giving all the underdeveloped ears to the chickens and stuffing the stalks into the compost bin. But on the other side of the fence, in a the spot where out compost bin used to be, the popcorn did fantastically. I ordered it on a whim, not even sure popcorn would grow here, and not wanting it to cross pollinate with the regular corn, we tossed the packet of kernels in the uneven but apparently well protected little plot and just let it go. No watering, no tending. Just sun and rain. Maybe we should take that approach with the whole garden!

We started pulling ears mid August and they've been drying in a bowl in the dining room ever since. But I hadn't decided how (or even if, they are so pretty on the cob) to pull off the kernels. The cobs Evie found were a few that I had thought weren't ripe enough, or pretty enough I guess, to bring in. But now they were dry and vibrant, and the kernels popped off easily when you ran your fingers along them. The kids sat on the neighbors driveway and pulled off the red and purple and golden kernels.Popcorn is, in general, a favorite around here. A tab top jar of unpopped corn has a permanent home on the counter near the stove. Since we don't own a microwave so we pop it the old fashioned way, over the stove with a little oil which, I must say, I kind of prefer. No fake butter taste, no burning hot bag, just the rattling lid on one of our heavy pots. It reminds me of being a kid and watching my parents pop corn in the giant avocado green pressure cooker, our heaviest, biggest pot.

The popcorn was perfect. Sweeter than the variety we usually get and whiter too. At Briton's request I added melted butter and sprinkled it with a little sugar and salt. They ate it down to the last kernel.
Add it to the "in next year's garden" list - more room for homegrown popcorn.