Popcorn Corn

Growing popcorn is a fun experiment in gardening, and a great way to get the kids really interested in what you’re planting. Until you decide to plant your own popcorn, you’d probably never realize how many varieties of popping corn there are to choose from.



Growing popcorn is a fun experiment in gardening, and a great way to get the kids really interested in what you’re planting. Until you decide to plant your own popcorn, you’d probably never realize how many varieties of popping corn there are to choose from.

Although most commercial popcorn is grown in the corn belt of Iowa and Nebraska, you can grow popcorn in any climate that supports sweet corn. Finding popcorn seeds can be as fun as getting them to grow. If you like a certain brand of popcorn, do a germination test on a handful of unpopped kernels (not the greasy microwave popcorn, use real stove top popcorn.) If any of them sprout, you can try growing the rest of the bag in your garden. (Sometimes commercial popcorn is heat-treated before baggind which can hinder germination.)

You can also find popcorn seeds in seed catalogs. Some of the unique varieties available include off-white, light gold, deep gold, deep maroon, black and multi-colored kernels, all of which have their own unique flavor and colors when popped.

Plant popcorn the same way you do sweet corn, and in 85 to 120 days your popcorn ears will be ready to harvest. Let the ears dry for two months, then shell the seeds from the husks. Prepare the corn for future popping by oven-drying it at 300 F for five hours, stirring occasionally. Store the popcorn in air-tight containers until you are ready to pop it in a pan on the stove top with a bit of oil.

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