Grow your own popcorn

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Growing your own popcorn.

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If you love popcorn, but don't want those from commercial brands, than you
should grow your own.
Prepackaged popcorn contain lots of fatty oils, salt and sugar. Homegrown
popcorn not only will taste better, they also will be chemical free and more
nutritious, low in sodium, calories or fat. But high in dietary fibre and
antioxidants.

Planting:
You should look for fertile seeds, there is different ones (yellow, blue, pink,
mahogany....). We grew pink, organic seeds from “west coast seeds”.
If you are not sure that your seeds are fertile, try a germination test. Sow about
10 to 20 seeds indoors, or outdoors (when warm enough) and water. If most
your seeds come up in a week, then you have good seeds. If after two weeks
there is none or little growth, you should better try a different seed source.
Avoid planting only 1 or 2 long rows, rather plant short rows about 35 inches
apart. When the seedlings are about 5 inches tall, then you can thin them to 12
inches apart.
Fertilize lightly in midsummer just before a rain to give them an added boost.
When the stalks are about knee-high, hill them up six inches by scraping soil
from between the rows. Hilling adds nutrients and support to the growing plants.
Let the husks that cover the ears turn brown before harvesting.

Harvesting:
Popcorn is ready to harvest when the silks turn brown and the kernels are fully
mature, firm, and well coloured. If you can press your thumbnail into a kernel, it’s
not ripe yet.

Drying:
Leave corn drying on the stalks as long as possible, allowing the kernels to dry
down naturally on the ear. Harvest and husk the popcorn and allow the ears to
cure further in a dry and well ventilated location. Drying time can vary from one
week to several weeks or more, depending on weather conditions.
In areas where the autumn is relatively free from rain, corn can simply be dried
on the stalks after it ripens. Corn stored on the ears take up a lot of space. We
like to husk and shell them, then let them dry for a while. We put some seeds
aside for next year. Then we dry our kernels in the dehydrator.
A "pop test" will let you know when the process is complete. Just cook a few
kernels as you normally would ... if the corn pops poorly and sticks to the pan,
you'll know it needs to dry for a while longer.
Avoid storing popcornin a warm location or in the refrigerator, which can dry out                  the kernels. If kernels dry out, adding a tablespoon of water per quart of popcorn
may help revive their popability. Shake or stir the kernels until the moisture is
absorbed, close up the container, and try popping again in a few days.
When properly cured and stored, popcorn can remain popable for a long, long
time. 

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Grow your own popcorn and treat yourself to the best popcorn there is.                            It is also a good idea to use some of your dried cobs as seasonal decorations and                shell the cobs for popping later.
But, whether you grow popcorn for yourself, or to bring as a gift, you can rest assured that you'll enjoy the whole experience ... from growing to eating.

Happy popping!

 

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