Popcorn, Planting to Popping

Photo by vancanjay at sxc.hu
Photo by vancanjay at sxc.hu

We Love Our Popcorn

For most of us in the US who grew up shopping at supermarkets, going to movie theaters, and visiting carnivals, fairs, and boardwalks, the availability of popcorn is something we simply take for granted. Whether it's plain, buttered, or candy-coated, whether it's air-popped or popped the old-fashioned way in hot oil on the stove top, popcorn is there for the asking for a reasonable price. It always was, and probably always will be.

But what if it weren't? What if microwavable corn disappeared from the grocery store shelves? What if our food distribution system broke down? What if you had to grow, harvest, dry, and store your own popcorn kernels in order to enjoy this timeless, all-American treat?

Where would you begin?

Begin with Planting the Right Variety of Corn

Popping corn, a type of flint or Indian corn, has a very hard exterior shell encasing a soft, moist, starchy center. Popcorn varieties can be a feast for the eyes: the kernels range in color from white through yellow to blues, reds, browns, and blacks, often with many colors mixed on one ear.

That sweet summer corn we like to grill, roast, boil, and devour right off the cob is good for just that...eating fresh, on the spot. It has neither the volume of starch on the inside nor the hardness on the outside to permit a proper pop.

Excellent sources for popcorn seed are available through seed catalogs, garden supply and feed sellers, retail stores, and of course, the Internet, as is excellent advice about how to grow popping corn.

Ohio Corn Ready for Harvest

Photo by pavaranda at sxc.hu
Photo by pavaranda at sxc.hu

Harvesting and Drying

Popcorn can be harvested any time after the husks plump up completely and start to turn from green to tan or white. Harvest the ears after a spell of dry weather, but before even a hint of frost is in the air.

Take the corn ears still contained in their husks off the plant and cart them off to a protected, well-ventilated area. You can spread the ears out in a single layer on a clean, newspaper-lined floor, or put them in mesh bags and hang them from rafters.

Let your imagination be your guide about how to dry the ears so long as cleanliness, air flow, and protection from rain, frost, freezing, and bugs are accounted for.

Some Very Cool Popcorn Poppers

When Is It Dry Enough to Pop?

Technically, corn pops best when the kernel's internal moisture content is 13 to 14 percent. If you happen to be in the middle of corn country, and have access to a grain elevator operation, you can take an ear in for testing. Absent that convenience, you are on your own!

After a couple of weeks of drying in the husk, the corn is ready to test. Remove the husk from an ear or two and pluck a few kernels off each cob. Take a small handful of kernels and pop them by whatever method you prefer.

If the popped corn is unpleasantly tough or chewy, or the exploded puffs are oddly edged or jagged, the corn is still too wet. Keep up this testing every few days until the popcorn is the way you like it, then husk and de-kernel the corn and store it.

Or Pop the Corn Right on the Cob!

You can popcorn right on the cob in your microwave. If you don't grow grow and dry your own popping corn, or you don't have local access to popping corn still on the cob, try this popping corn for a delicious and fun experience.

OK, How Do I Get the Kernels Off the Ears?

Believe me when I tell you this is not rocket science, although it may seem so if you've never done it or seen it done.

Take the husk off the ear. Use your fingernail or, if you feel funny about that for whatever reason, use a spoon to release one row of kernels from the cob. This process is a little painstaking, but once you've been through a number of ears, it gets a lot easier.

Once the first row of kernels is dislodged from the ear, simply take your thumb and gently nudge the rest of the kernels free. They will come off easily, and you will be amazed at how quickly the kernels can fly.

Popcorn Jewels

One of the most beautiful memories of my childhood is gazing at the floor of my grandmother's unused summer kitchen, where popping corn in different stages of being husked and de-kerneled was scattered on newspapers laid on scrubbed floors. In the sunlight coming through the open, screened windows, the individual kernels strewn on the floor for additional drying glowed like rubies, diamonds, and tiger eyes. More jewels still in their rows on the husked cobs gleamed, and the wrapped ears not yet shucked made the perfect subtle contrast to the sparkling kernels.

Storing the Popcorn

Pour the dried kernels into air-tight containers. The containers can be glass jars with tightly fitting lids, or the zip variety of plastic storage bags. Place the containers in a cool, dark place.

I have a wall in the kitchen lined with cabinets that borders the outside porch, and this wall is not well insulated. A cabinet along that wall is the perfect place.

Whatever you do, don't store the kernels in the refrigerator or freezer. This kind of storage will remove the moisture from within the kernel and destroy its "popability".

With the proper care you gave your corn, and a little luck, you should be able to pop your own corn clear into the following summer.

A Kernel of Corn Exploding in Slow Motion

The Magic of Popcorn

Popcorn is a bit magical. It starts as an incredibly hard seed that can easily break a tooth and then, in a stunningly thin slice of a hot instant, transforms into a delectable, enormously chewable, cloud puff of goodness. In that hot instant, steam builds up in the moist center to a pressure sufficient to explode the outer shell. To most of us, this transformation is as mysterious as a caterpillar's metamorphosis into a butterfly.

Late summer is around the corner in the US, and the popping varieties of corn are coming to maturity in the fields. Before long, pale husks will be bursting with plump popcorn kernels ready for harvesting, drying, storing for winter, and popping the old-fashioned way.

And now you know how to do it, all by yourself.

A Special Thanks

Thank you, Karen LaVelle, for your enthusiasm about this subject. Your enthusiasm prompted me to write more about corn. I hate to say this, but I just might have more to say on the subject!

Another Beautiful Cornfield Sunset

Cornfield sunset in Saint-Basile, Québec by shadowkill at sxc.hu
Cornfield sunset in Saint-Basile, Québec by shadowkill at sxc.hu

More by this Author

Comments 55 comments

marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

YUM who can resist such salty, sweet crunchy popcorn? Not I. I LOVE it. forget the movie and pass the corn. I especially love kettle corn, but who wouldn't -- I am printing this out for future use. We should know how to do this -- I think it would be a fun project. I remember hanging ears to dry on my uncles farm... they used them for decoration and probably popping, tho' I didn't see that part.

I know they fed their pigs dried field corn - also great as roasting ears...it would pop my uncle said, but not like popcorn to eat...not as flavorful or tender. They made corn meal and uh the occasional corn whiskey shhhh LOL -- they had a machine they "shelled" the corn with and they would fly off like bullets. I got hit with them many times. hahha It was a "barn dance" of sorts.

great information as always Sally's Trove!!

Pam Pounds profile image

Pam Pounds 8 years ago from So Cal Girl in the Midwest!

Hi Sally! I love the slow motion popcorn clip! I'm afraid I'm a city girl, with not much room to plant corn. Too bad, 'cuz I love popcorn, but I'm afraid I'll have to settle for Orville Redenbacher!!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Marisue, this corn adventure of mine is full of memories. And I see from your comment that you have many memories of corn as well. You and I are maybe more than a generation removed from the farm, so our memories are sketchy in places.

Just for the record, I have no memory of makin' moonshine!

What I love about your comment is that you identified a number of types of corn, something you would know from your childhood, even if you had no direct experience growing these types.

For decoration and popping, those are flint corn types. These types are also the direct descendents of our native Indian corn.

To make the corn meal and whiskey, those types are the "flour" corn, particularly well adapted to making a workable flour and a fermenting mix.

About the shelling machine where the corn flew like bullets, well, I've never seen one of those, but I have seen--in use--a rotating machine that takes the feathers off chickens alive or dead.

Sigh*. Such memories.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Pam, if there ever comes a time when you can't get Orville because the popcorn industry has gone kerplunk, just give me a holler. I'll make sure you get some kernels for popping from out this way.

Thanks so much for your comments!

annemaeve profile image

annemaeve 8 years ago from Philly Burbs

YEAY POPCORN! Thank you for this wonderful hubventure, Sally. Your writing brings up the thought of popcorn so clearly I can feel the shiny, dry kernels bursting from under my fingers as I twist the cob (my memory is from making horse feed, but still!). I can also feel imaginary popcorn skin in my teeth... I'm gonna go brush now...

Next time you make home-made popcorn, sign me up to help!

Karen LaVelle profile image

Karen LaVelle 8 years ago from Texas

You GO Girl!  I love this article!  I am learning more from you than how to grow pop-corn. 

 Thank you, btw, you did this so fast it makes my head spin. 

We have a much longer growing season here than you, so it will be late September or early October before my little container crop is done enough to harvest.  But we are having the 1st rains we have had in months, right now, and my little crop is getting thicker in the stem!  I am so excited that I could jump up and down!  LOL  =o)  Thanks again for this article.  It makes me feel a lot more confident about what I am doing and maybe my container experiment will grow into a yard garden (yard full of containers filled with crops, that is) next year!

Next I have to learn how to properly link to everything...argggg.  confusion plus.

Karen LaVelle =o)

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey

Kudos, ST--I love your memories of your grandmother's summer kitchen as much as the "recipe" for popcorn. Such a pleasure to read and soooooo full of good, well presented information. I'll probably just keep buying my popcvorn at the movies or on the boardwalk--but hey, It's nice to know I could do it myself if I wanted to. It is the most American of American treats, isn't it?

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

annemaeve, you just gave us all another technique for getting the kernels off the cob. "Let's twist again, like we did last summer..." LOL

Thanks for that and for the good words!

FlyingPanther profile image

FlyingPanther 8 years ago from here today gone tomorrow!!

POP CORN! I hear a pop coming.... LOL Thank You for another great hub my friend and keep up the good work as always.

Love always.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Karen, I can feel your excitement about your little crop getting thicker in the stem. When I have seedlings on their way to growing up, I hover over them probably every couple of hours, looking for the slightest of changes that will show me how big they will be one day. It's kind of funny, isn't it, all that time looking, as if just the looking will speed things along. Doesn't matter that I know a watched pot doesn't boil, I still think I'm adding something by obsessive looking. HaHa at me!

Container gardening is an art and a science, and it seems to me you are on the right track. Can't wait to see about 100 55-gallon containers in your backyard. There's another nice advantage to using them...you don't have to bend down to weed, plant, and harvest.

I get the feeling you are a quick learner (we know you are a photoreader!), and it just takes a little bit of time to get the hang of working with capsules and Hubs. You'll have it in no time, plus there's lots of help in the forums and in the many Hubs that have been written on how to use HubPages tools.

Thanks for your awesome comments!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Robie, thank you so much for your wonderful words.

I am more of a visual than a verbal person, and have a tendency to learn and remember better through seeing than hearing. When I have a visual memory like the kernels scattered on the floor, I want others to see along with me. It pleases me that the little paragraph about my grandmother's kitchen pleased you.

Since you left your comment, I added some different information about popping corn while it's still on the cob...I'm thinking that a little trip to the Golden Nugget along about October might get you a couple of ears of dried Indian corn to throw in the microwave!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

FlyingPanther! Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I am always happy when you do. Hope you checked out that cool photo taken in Quebec. It's by the same artist as the picture in the sweet corn Hub. Whenever I see those photos, I think of you!

Best always, Sally

pgrundy 8 years ago

Such an enjoyable read, thank you! We didn't get any corn in this year, but next year we will for sure. We still have corn from, geez, four years ago in ball jars that is supposed to be popping corn but the pop has kinda gone right out of it now. I'd say we have half a dozen quarts of that. Any ideas? Is it safe to grind up and eat? Or should we pitch it? I love your hubs, looking forward to the next agri-culinary adventure!

Health Conscious profile image

Health Conscious 8 years ago from South Florida - USA

Ah Sally you found the one thing I like more than watermelon. :-)

How do I go about getting some of your homegrown popcorn?

You made me remember gardening with my father and how I was so young and stupid. I hated every minute of it at the time but would give anything to be able to relive it. 

I also had forgotten the multicolored popcorn we grew one year, we had corn for so long it finally got to where it wouldn't pop. Which reminds me of a trick I recently learned. If you have corn that is not popping very plump, add a little water to the container and let it sit.  The first time I tried it I had about 2 cups of corn and added roughly 1 table spoon of water. It worked great.So anytime you  have kernels which pop out a little on the hard side give it a try. 

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Pam, you are amazing! You may have given me a whole new direction with "agri-culinary". A sensational marriage of two things I love. I've always been interested in biology and chemistry, and certainly in cooking (I so admire cooks with great chemistry, like my mother, aunt, grandmother, and ex-husband...they don't need a cookbook, only their keen obervations about what happens to edibles when a human intervenes).

Hey, four years is pushing it. One year is pushing it. The right moisture level inside the kernel is the key, but after 6 months or so, no matter how carefully you store the kernels, there will be dehydration. How interesting that Health Conscious left the comment above shortly after you left yours. I've heard about this approach, although I've never tried it. You'll have to let us know how it works for you.

Meanwhile, you might consider using those kernels to start your popcorn production for next year. Leave the kernels as they are for now, in the Ball jars, and in the spring when it's the right planting time for your area, put the kernels into some zip baggies and then into the freezer for an overnight or two. (I don't know the chemistry behind this, guess I'll have to look it up, but it's called "striation", and it's supposed to encourage germination). If you use all the kernels you have, I guess you are looking at about an acre's worth. Maybe that will be your new business adventure!

Well, off to ponder the next agri-culinary Hub!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Health Conscious, I love your comment for so many reasons.

When we are kids and our parents ask us to help with something, we almost always miss the importance of it at the time. After all, when we are kids, it's all about "us". You weren't stupid, you were just being a kid. Thank you for giving us your insight. I am glad that this corn Hub led you to share these thoughts. I think many grown children can identify with you.

Watermelon! I love it, and I especially love the memories of it. My grandmother and her husband always laced their watermelon with plenty of salt, which made it taste, somehow, sweeter. I don't usually put salt on mine, but every now and again I do, to honor her. For me, however, it's hands down...corn is my happy place.

Thanks for the great tip on re-hydrating popping corn. I hope pgrundy will give it a try. If it works for her, with all the popping corn she has left over from four years ago, I think she might have a mobile popcorn stand business in the works, and still have plenty to plant an acre next spring.

marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

You're right, I don't remember the details of all the corn; I just remembered there were different kinds, I'm amazed now and was then at how much a farmer had to know and watch out for, and take care of.   I had my share of dodging the corn sheller but I'm awfully glad I never ran into the chicken plucker!!   OUCH !!  Can you imagine??  I never saw my aunt kill a chicken for dinner.  She did it away from the house, and never told me - I was just sure the chicken magically appeared on the table from the store...and those chickens never really "died"  cuz in my mind they never lived.  LOL  only the young, right?

I'm craving popcorn,

=))   got the blues, tonight and Lynn is taking me for a drive...might take some popcorn along with us! =))

trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago

Hmmm, this is so out of my league. Do they still make Jiffy Pop? LOL The only memories I have of popcorn are enjoying it at a drive-in, a movie, or once when we went to a barbecue and they threw the cobs w/husks on the charcoal. Yummy!

Despite my inexperience with gardening, this is a great hub!

love ya!

G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 8 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

well...I love POP corn like everyone else does...but have never tried to grow that kind...sounds like fun...all I remember about the farm from when I was  5-6 maybe was taking whole watermelons from the field and breaking them open and eating the hearts..many seeds then tho..now you get them seedless and usually tasteless...well in my opinion...

anyway would love to try to grow some next year..love seeing things hang from the rafters drying..so homie to  me...Very good hub my dear thank you for the lesson on popcorn...with butter please....G-Ma :o) hugs

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Marisue, you had a compassionate aunt, as I had a compassionate grandmother. They both made sure neither the chickens nor the squirrels were killed in plain sight of us kids.

I remember waking up in my grandmother's house and seeing her shadow on the wall complete with an axe in the hand. She was after squirrels in the attic in the middle of the night. If she knew I was awake, she would have been mortified. Although we had squirrel pie for dinner the next evening, my grandmother claimed it was rabbit. I knew better.

When I ran into the plucker, it was as a grown person.

Stuff yourself up with popcorn tonight, I think it's an amnesiac as much as it's the all American treat!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Trish, I learn something new about you every day. I remember popping Jiffy Pop on the stove at your parents' house. That metal handle attached to an aluminum pan. DIrections were specific: Shake the hell out of the thing as you get it to pop.

Through the years, we went our separate ways. I guess I went to popcorn or something and you went to cats or something. But the beauty of it is that we still love each other for all these years.

I see a smile on your face, and I have one on mine.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

G-Ma, so glad to see you. I think you must have had fun with those watermelons. Breaking them open and maybe spitting seeds.

I actually like the seedless varieties, since I was never good at competitive spitting. But what I really hate today is buying an under-ripe melon. Now THAT is nasty.

Here's to butter on the corn!

Pam Pounds profile image

Pam Pounds 8 years ago from So Cal Girl in the Midwest!

ok, Sally - I'll be hollerin'...! Next time I'm out East, I'll be giving you a shout!! Can't imagine how fresh your home-grown kernals must taste!!

trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago


That's exactly where my head was when I made that comment, in my mom's kitchen standing over her stove, and shaking that thing so the popcorn wouldn't burn.

Sometimes I'm still trying to figure out where I went throughout our lives lol,,,but here I am! :)

God made sure we became not only friends, but sisters, that we each never had.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Pam, now that's the way friendships get started...over popcorn! When the time comes, please do shout.

Trish, my sister, we often fill in the gaps for each other about the old days, don't we? There are things each of us remembers and forgets, and somehow, especially in these last few years, we've been doing a pretty good job of filling in the color and rich detail that paint the picture of our wonderful friendship.

Eddie Perkins 8 years ago

Ah ha, I did that. I’ve taken the kernels off the ears.

Exploding Kernel of corn. How cool is that.

Beautiful Sunset. My sweetie and I saw a beautiful sunrise this morning while taking our morning speed stroll.

This is a great hub. Very informative, well thought out, easy to read with plenty of good pictures for us who haven’t learned to read:) Thumbs up. Thank you. ~ eddie

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Eddie, thanks so much for the compliment! I feel really good that just in case anyone forgets how to read, this Hub will still work pretty well.

Just out of curiosity, since we've documented two techniques for removing kernels by hand...the gentle thumb pressure after removing one row of kernels, and the "twist" method...when you took the kernels off the ears, did you have a special method we haven't covered?

Best regards, Sally

Eddie Perkins 8 years ago

Thank you for your kindness Sally; I'm just a poor country boy. I’m not certain that our technique was any different than what you are saying here. We may not have used “gentle pressure” as much as “brutal force” followed by the twist. Not too pretty, but it worked. Don’t have a picture, but I don’t think you need one. I’m kidding you some, but I still enjoyed your hub.~ eddie

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Eddie, your comment is awesome. It's called, "Attack the cob with whatever works."

I wonder if de-kerneling will ever be an Olympic sport?

Thanks so much for your very cool comments.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

I love to make popcorn and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top, without butter because I was never fond of that topping. Great hub and wonderful pictures.

proudgrandpa profile image

proudgrandpa 8 years ago from Charlotte, NC

Sally, I beleive this topic is one for the ages as far as whetting peoples appetites.

I too, had the good fortune of time doing the things on the farm that most people think are grown with the shrink wrap already on them.

I have two admonitions on this subject that might cause one to think that I ain't too smart but here goes. Don't plant your popcorn right in the middle of your sweet corn unless you have a long talk with the Bees first. Shelling< (getting the corn off the cob) will give your thumb an enormous blister. Now, how do you think I know that?

Thanks for your hub. NEIL

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

SweetiePie, thanks for stopping by and commenting.  Personally, I'm not all that fond of butter on popcorn, either.  I usually eat my popcorn plain, maybe with a little salt.  I've never had parmesan on popcorn, although I love the cheese.  I think I'll try that next time!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Neil, there's nothing not smart about you! Thanks for sharing your admonitions.

Do you have a Bee / English, English / Bee dictionary perchance? I saw a great program the other night on PBS about the Corn Palace in South Dakota and how one farmer grows all of the corn that replaces the facade every year. The corn they nail up there to create the beautiful murals is not dyed or painted, but grown in a variety of colors for the purpose. The farmer was quite clear about growing the individual varieties at great distances from each other in order to prevent the cross-pollination that could ruin an entire color's harvest.

About the blister, I have to wonder how much of that corn you shelled at one time! :)

As always, thanks for your great comments.


C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 8 years ago from NW Indiana

I live in popcorn country but have never tried growing it. This was a good hub. Might motivate me to try some next year. I love popcorn! Thanks for a good hub. C.S. Alexis

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Thanks for reading and commenting, C.S. If you're in popcorn country, then you will have lots of support for growing your own crop. Hope you give it a try next year.

All the best, Sally

Veronica Bright profile image

Veronica Bright 8 years ago from Nebraska

Great hub! I love popcorn. I think we could achieve world peace if we went to war torn nations and popped popcorn. The smell of the popcorn would overcome everyone's senses!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Veronica, I love what you said.  Food brings us together.  It bridges the gaps in understanding, the world around.

I have a dear friend who is a vegetarian.  On a recent trip to South America, she chose to travel so that she would be a guest in someone's home.  The dinner for the evening included meat protein, and my friend knew it would be rude to refuse the food.  So she ate the meal with gusto (feigned or not).  This experience taught her much about herself, including that relationships with fellow humans anywhere are strengthened by putting personal preferences aside.

I know this was a digression on my part, and not entirely to your point.  But, although popcorn won't save the world, it is a delight that can bring people of all walks of life together.

Thank you so much for your comments.

BTW, LOVE your avatar.

cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 8 years ago from North Carolina

Great Job Sally, would love to make this homemade popcorn. :)

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

cgull, thanks so much for reading and commenting. In my research on this topic, I found that you can actually mail-order whole cobs of popping corn, fresh from the grower, and pop them in your microwave without shelling them. Just google "popcorn on cob" (without the quotes) and you'll find a selection of retailers.

All the best, Sally

marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

Sally, I had forgotten you wrote this wonderfully informative hub on corn and popcorn.., I am enjoying reading it all again.  Did your research indicate how popcorn was "discovered?  I keep seeing a dried cob falling into the fire in an Indian tribal dinner and boom, there it went off, maybe scaring everyone til the kids picked it up and ate it...we always learn everything from kids, right?

anyway, I was wondering if you had found information on it's origin?

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Marisue, your vision of how popcorn was discovered is in perfect alignment with the historians. The thought is that a stray dried corn kernel or cob fell in a fire, and the rest, well, goes without saying!

Thanks so much for the good words, and for the link to here from your Poppin' Hub, which I just linked to (see "popping the old-fashioned way" above).

49er profile image

49er 7 years ago from USA

Very interesting. Corn on the cob is one of my favorites, but I am not as big of a fan of popcorn. I think that comes from working at a movie theatre when younger though.

Just out of curiosity, is it a fairly easy plant to grow? I have done grown tomatoes and cucumbers before, but that is about it...

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

49er, I am so sorry I missed your comment! This has happened to a number of comments over the last few months, and I don't know if it's a HubPages thing, or a "me" thing...I suspect it's a "me" thing.

Corn is a fairly easy crop to grow, but it requires much more space than tomatoes or cucumbers if you want a yield that compares in volume. Growers recommend giving each corn plant one square foot of ground, and each plant will produce only one or two ears.

Corn is susceptible to a number of pests and diseases, but the Web and seed suppliers are full of good information about how to grow a healthy crop.

If you are in a suburban environment, the biggest threat is raccoons, who love the young, tender, growing ears and will demolish a stand in a night.

Isabelle22 profile image

Isabelle22 7 years ago from Somewhere on the coastline

A great read Sally.I enjoyed it heaps. I adore popcorn as well lol.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Isabelle22, thanks so much for reading and commenting.

Rebecca o'neal 6 years ago

thankyou so much for the information, its helped me prepare lesson plans for a science class at uni. As im studying education. Top job keep it up i love all the detail.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Rebecca, what a great idea. Not only will your class be interesting and educational, the students will get to eat the results! Thanks so much for your comment.

Malcolm_Cox profile image

Malcolm_Cox 6 years ago from Newcastle, England

This hub makes me hungry! Excellent!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Thanks for the good words, Malcolm!

Dorsey Brown 5 years ago

I love strawberry popcorn. Do you know if anyone sell

strawberry popcorn by the pound and is ready for popping?

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Hi Dorsey, I don't know of anyone selling strawberry popcorn by the pound. You might want to try that link I have up there in the article for strawberry popcorn and get in touch with the seller directly. Maybe the seller will sell by the pound or knows someone who will.

Jen Thomas 4 years ago

I received a few dozen popcorn cobs that were harvested last year. I'm down to about 8 and I noticed that 4 of them have these little reddish ant looking bugs on them (1-2 each). Perhaps I'm just being a ninny but is this normal? Should I just pick them off and use the cob? I mean if anything it's protein, right? :) I can't find anything using google and you seemed super knowledgeable. Thanks!

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Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Jen, you might find this brief article useful :


And here are some pics to help you identify your bugs:


If you are seeing 4 to 8 bugs, then you can be sure more are on their way, and larvae are probably present as well.

I personally wouldn't hesitate to use the corn, but that's my opinion and I'm not advising the use or consumption of infested corn. I'm of the same mind as you, that a bit of protein won't hurt. On the other hand, I'd be really careful about where I store the cobs, so that the bugs you have in the corn don't set up house in any of your other dry good supplies.

Thanks for reading and leaving your comment. I hope these resources are helpful. :)

Jen Thomas 4 years ago

Great article on identifying the pantry pest. I'm pretty sure I have the Sawtooth/Merchant Grain Beetle... Good thing they were in a contained area!

ps. I think I'll pass on the protein option this time :)

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Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Jen, thanks so much for following up here with what you discovered. That's a help to everyone who wants to pass on the protein or not. :)

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