Popping Up Strawberry Popcorn

Not much gardening happening today, what with the 65 mph winds and seven-foot snow drifts:

We're up to over 90 inches of snow on the season, and we've had two winter's worth of the white stuff fall in less than a month. Yeah, it's a lot.

But all this enforced inside time does allow us to catch up on some chores that we might otherwise let slide. For example, we finally got around to shucking our strawberry popcorn. After harvesting it last September, we let it sit around to dry…for a really long time.

Until today. With absolutely nothing better to do (we were not going out to shovel in that wind), we got to work on rubbing the dried corn off the cob: 

This was nowhere near as easy as it sounds. These are tiny kernels that end in a sharp point. We figured out that if you used your thumbnail to clear a little patch of kernels, then you could press the rest of them toward the open area and they would (mostly) come off easily. Still, after a couple dozen ears, my thumb was rather nicely exfoliated:

Jonas was no dummy--he decided to put himself on errant kernel detail instead. They did tend to fly around when they popped off the cob, so that was an important duty.

In the end, we had a big bowlful of small, red corn kernels:

For comparison to regular popcorn kernels, here's how big they are in my hand:

The are about half to 2/3 the size of commercial popcorn. They're prettier, though.

And they popped! 

We made it on the stovetop (the only way to make popcorn, by the way) with a couple tablespoons of oil and about a quarter cup of kernels over medium heat. You shake the covered pot occasionally to keep it from scalding, and that's it.

Just as the kernels were smaller, this heirloom variety pops up smaller, too. Here are three perfectly average pieces of strawberry popcorn:

With butter and salt, it was delicious, even if it was so tiny. Jonas deemed it "totally worth the effort," so that's definitely something. I think in the future we would make a lot more at once, since it isn't as big and fluffy as the kind you'd buy in the store. 

I'm actually not as certain as Jonas that it was worth the effort of growing it. There are other things we could plant in that space that we'd get better use of. I'd probably consider growing a more modern variety of popcorn again some day to get a little more bang for our snacking buck. Still, I'd call this experiment a success overall!


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