|The popcorn makes it's first appearance at Windmill
This all seemed quite a fun thing to try when we were planning out the planting for the year, so the seeds were put in and the corn appeared. Then came a burst of hot sunny weather that stayed put, so the crops really whooshed into a harvestable state. We harvested some of the mini corn and enjoyed it, but then various folk went on holiday, we got a bit behind on the picking, and the mini-corn was suddenly too big to taste good. Once past the baby stage, it gets a woody core and starts to taste a bit weird and chewy. Fortunately when we stopped harvesting, we left quite a few ears on the plants, because we discovered that a lot of mini corn is actually popcorn.
In many ways, it makes more sense to grow popcorn than mini corn. In terms of food value and crop value, mini corn is a bit of a waste of space - a tiny crop for the area the plants take up. Popcorn on the other hand is expensive to buy popped, and whilst it is cheap enough to buy popping corn, the normal varieties are apparently chosen for their popping quality rather than their taste.
|Freshly husked popcorn
So - we were quite excited when we came to harvest and discovered when we peeled back the sheath of the corn that the cobs looked beautiful - full of hard, glossy yellow kernels looking more like precious stones than something to eat. Getting them off was fun but a bit sore on the thumbs - there is a definite art to flipping the kernels into a dish and not firing them across the kitchen!
So we had the harvest, but then it becomes either an art or a science, as you need to get the kernels to the best moisture level for popping. Not being the types to go for high-tech kit, we went the other way, harvesting the kernels when we could no longer make the cobs deform at all when we tried to twist them. After that, it was a matter of slowly drying the corn and trying small batches of the kernels until they popped reliably. This was initially a bit disappointing as the hot air "duck" popper that we have didn't pop many of the kernels, but we were delighted to find out that popping in hot coconut oil on a stove, we got quite a high % of fluffy popcorn. And the best bit was that it tasted really good!