Now as you know, popcorn is a fantastic snack, good for you and good nutrition. I like it’s taste, it’s mouth-feel… even making it is fun. My personal preference is the air popper…easy, no mess and no fat.. plus no saucepan to clean.
But, like most natural foods Popcorn has been messed with. With popcorn you have your usual problems of modern mass production methods of spraying, fertilizing etc. which may be “not-good”. Let me put it this way, I just don’t want to consume any chemicals no matter how safe they tell me they are. So in terms of chemical purity the organic popcorn is of course the slam dunk winner. … But what about taste? Let’s take a look.
In this competition we pit the cheap supermarket brand of non-organic popcorn, premium non-organic popcorn and bulk organic popcorn. We popped all three in the air popper, let them come to an equal room temperature and tested. Here’s what we found:
Texture: This is a big part of the popcorn eating experience. For this we found the supermarket brand to be, not terrible, but definitely not good. It was sort of able to crumble easily. No chewy action going on. The premium non-organic stuff had plenty of chew..and in some bites too much of the chewy bordering on a polystyrene thing going on. But, the organic popcorn had more chew than supermarket and somewhat less than premium. .. Just right as they say.. So the other guys weren’t bad but the organic was slightly better.
Taste: Supermarket…Not bad but really not-good. Premium and organic, very close and both good.
So the organic barely nudged out a win with regards to the eating experience … both organic and premium were good (just don’t waste your time with the supermarket brand). So with taste being about equal you have two other factors to consider. The first is cost, premium is cheaper. The second is chemical residues, the organic is a purer food. Now when I did the math the amount of money saved on a bowl of popcorn wasn’t even pocket change. So I asked myself, if someone came up to me and said they’d give me this amount of change to swallow the tiniest amount of chemical would I do it? You know my answer, go organic and call it a day already.
It’d take a heap of lookin’ to find anybody who doesn’t like popcorn (which carries the imposing scientific title, Zea mays everta). Whether it’s served as a quick snack for drop-in guests, an evening family munch or a low-cost substitute for missed college dorm meals, a freshly popped pan of corn is a treat that nearly everyone enjoys.
And, although most store-bought popcorn is produced in the Corn Belt states of Iowa and Nebraska, one variety or another of this delicious snack will grow in any climate that’ll support sweet corn. Homegrown popcorn has a lot of advantages over the commercial brands, too. It’ll pop and taste better, for instance, because it’s fresh … and it won’t be contaminated with any sprayed “surprises” (which can be comforting knowledge in these days of chemical farming).
Homegrown popcorn does have one drawback, though: Once you’ve eaten it you’ll never again be satisfied with the store-bought product. You’ll just have to plant your own plot of corn every year!
Fortunately, changes in available garden space needn’t interfere with continued popcorn production, because the grain can be planted most anywhere. For example, a friend of mine grows her corn in among the flowers on the south side of her house. I know another gardener who planted popcorn in his cucumber hills. He was able to pick the ears and leave the row of stalks to serve as a natural trellis for the cukes.
Finding Popcorn Corn Seeds
It can be difficult to find fertile popcorn seeds. If you have a favorite commercial brand, be sure to try a germination test before you go to the trouble and expense of a full planting: Sow a row of about 20 seeds, water it and wait. If most of the corn is up and growin’ in a week, you have good seeds. If two weeks pass with little or no growth, you’d better look for another source (many popcorn producers heat-dry the kernels to kill weevil eggs, and this process sometimes hinders germination. Some retail popcorn is just too danged old to grow!).