Thank you for everyone’s patience as we waited for the popcorn to dry down. As we reflect on 2013, the spring planting was late and the fall conditions were not conducive for additional drying to occur in the field. The last of the popcorn was harvested October 21. The blue popcorn was actually planted a month later than the strawberry and white popcorn varieties and matured quite quickly. But drying down for the right moisture content so the kernels would actually pop is another story. Thus the delay.
In late October, we shelled some of the strawberry, blue and white popcorn. We wanted to see how they would pop. Every variety needed to dry some more especially the blue and the white. There was simply too much moisture in the kernels. They wouldn’t even pop. They would simply burn. You could tell the white and blue popcorn was planted later than the strawberry variety simply because of the moisture content in the kernels. So we set up our own make shift corn dryer and had a fan blowing on the ears to dry down the kernels.
Here is a look at the varieties. They are really beautiful kernels. You will see in the white kernels that there was some cross-pollination that occurred on the ears. You can tell this by noticing the few blue kernels amongst the white kernels. The Popcorn Board is a great source of information to learn all you wanted to know about popcorn and more.
The popcorn is shelled using Steve’s Grandpa Gifford’s corn sheller. An ear at a time is placed in the top. This is a view as the ear goes into the sheller. We are so blessed to be able to use all of Steve’s grandparent’s cool garden and canning gadgets. So thankful they shared them with us to share with the next generation of the family.
This is a view of how the kernels are stripped off the cob as we crank it through. The pointy parts are for taking the corn off the cob so no hand shelling needs to occur. Needless to say this is a miniature corn combine for us.
The ear comes out the bottom of the sheller with the kernels separated from the cob. The kernels fall into the box. The cob is given to our chickens and/or added to our compost pile.
After the kernels dried down, we tried to separate the kernels, the chaff and the silks. We tried a variety of methods including the shaking method which reminded me of how we separated weed seed from the seed kernels when I worked in the seed house at South Dakota State University. The method wasn’t perfect. I attribute the additional chaff and silks with the kernels to how wet the ears were when we removed the husks to prevent molding of the kernels and the moisture in the kernels and cobs this year.
In the end, we hope that you enjoy the popcorn. I know we enjoyed growing it for all of you, and it was certainly fun to watch your families get excited about the possibilities.
Here are a few more links for recipe ideas from Simply Recipes and Taste of Home.
Some of you may be wondering how do I pop this popcorn? Maybe your families have only used microwave popcorn. Great news…simply put some popcorn in a Pyrex bowl and cover with a plate and pop for about 3 minutes or about the length you usually pop your microwave popcorn in your microwave (seems every microwave varies a little). Once you hear the kernels stop popping – its done. Another option is to use a brown lunch bag, add some popcorn, fold the top down about 3 times and place in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes. Remove when you hear the kernels stop popping.
I melted about 1 Tablespoon of butter and added a little bit of salt. The result was a happy boy. We also enjoy “treasure hunt” popcorn which is simply a few M&Ms and/or chocolate chips sprinkled in to the popcorn. This is a family favorite for movie night or watching football games.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
We hope you enjoy this taste from the garden during these cold Minnesota winter days. From our home to yours, wishing you all a Happy New Year!