Day 244: Waste-Free Microwave Popcorn

popcornWhen I think of the local farmers market, I think fresh veggies and preserves, maybe a bit of cheese.  I don’t think of microwave popcorn.

Yesterday, I’m at the winter farmers market, when I spy a sign that says “microwave popcorn” above an unlikely sight: corn on the cob (in February in Canada no less).  But these cobs were special; they were dried.

When I inquired, the farmer said that you just put the entire cob in a paper bag and throw it in the microwave for a couple minutes.

What a fabulous idea!  Sure, I can buy popping corn at the bulk store, but this stuff was local, organic, package-free, and made for quite an exciting microwave experiment as I soon found out.

That evening, I put one of the cobs in a bag, set the microwave for 3 minutes, and stared through the glass with anticipation.  As the familiar popping sound started, it looked like there was quite a bit of steam billowing from the bag.

Two minutes in, the steam looked distinctly like smoke.  Two minutes and 15 seconds in, despite the continuous popping sounds, I became quite convinced that the bag was about to erupt into flame (wouldn’t that have made for a good story).

I panicked and pressed stop.

Sure enough, the kitchen filled with the odor of campfire, and the bag had a large hole burned through the bottom of it.  However, it was also reassuringly filled with fluffy popcorn.

After throwing the smoldering cob and blackened bag into a sink of water (I unfortunately don’t have a photo because Grant has gone skiing with the camera again), I assessed my popcorn.

I have to admit, the final product was not as fabulously light and puffy as the store bought brands, and I only got about a 75% pop rate (I could’ve pushed it higher with more microwave time, but the hole in the bag convinced me it wouldn’t be wise).

On the plus side, it tasted great.  And I didn’t have to eat that chemical butter flavoring they have all over the store-bought kind or have to dispose of a buttery paper package with dubious recyclable status.

I also didn’t get any unpopped kernels in the bottom of the bowl (you know, the ones you accidentally grab and nearly break a tooth on) because they stayed on the cob and floundered in the sink.

I’m not sure if I want to promote this as a food option or an entertainment activity, but if you get a chance to try on-the-cob microwave popcorn, I’d recommend it.  Just make sure you keep an eye on that paper bag.

-as a footnote, I’d like to add that a quick internet search revealed that there are many people out there successfully making popcorn in this manner who have not set off the smoke alarm, so don’t be put off by my ineptitude.

5 Comments

Filed under DIY, food

5 responses to “Day 244: Waste-Free Microwave Popcorn

  1. greenbudget

    Okay, this is an hilarious post!

    As a person who has an addiction to popcorn, I can appreciate a good “bag on fire” story. I am going to have to try this method out, but I think I may need some supervision.

    Oh, and if you do decide to go back to air popping your corn, make sure to keep the kernels in the fridge. I know it sounds weird, but it keeps them fresh and it helps reduce the amount of un-popped corn, as I too have chomped pretty on a few kernels myself.

    After watching the bachelor and being soo mad at my once beloved Jason (yes, I am a sucker for reality tv) this put me in a much better mood.

  2. This is too funny! Who knew you could make pop popcorn right off the cob in the microwave? I wonder if you could do something other than the paper bag? Like a glass bowl with a plate on top to hold the steam. Hmm…. I’ve got to google this one.

  3. I’ve seen these around but never tried them. I make popcorn old school – on the stove. I even save the unpopped kernels and got them to repop! http://condo-blues.blogspot.com/2009/03/how-to-repop-popcorn-kernels.html

  4. kate

    this sounds like exactly what my house needs! we are popcorn addicts (i’m talking at least every other day) and its a constant battle between the convenient but oh-so-chemical-full microwave (not to mention the garbage!) and the messy pot on the stove (mmm with nutritional yeast). what we really need is an air popper, but this popcorn on the cob business is intriguing…

  5. Instead of a bag try using a pyrex casserole dish with a lid (that is if you have one), I used to buy those cobs for my niece every summer and we put it in the casserole dish so she could watch it jump around. We’ve also skipped any type of containement and let the cob go hog wild in the microwave… not sure I would reccommend this approach!
    And no, it’s never fluffy like air popper popcorn and evil chemical popcorn gets, but it’s neat enough to make up for it!

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