When 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.