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Enjoying the Fruits of our Labor

December 31st, 2011

I mentioned earlier this fall that I grew popcorn in the potager I share with my mom. I’ve grown ‘Strawberry’ Popcorn before, which produces tasty little deep red ears of corn that are beautiful while growing in the garden and after harvest. The seeds for this variety were from Botanical Interests. This summer I decided to try ‘Pennsylvania Butter’ which I purchased from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

Our popcorn from this year has been up the attic drying since we harvested it a few months ago. We usually save it until winter and shell it while we’re watching a movie. We ran out of the popcorn from the local farm earlier this week, so we spent an evening shelling our homegrown popcorn.

One of the best things about growing your own popcorn or sourcing heirloom popcorn from a local farmer is the taste. Once you make the switch you’ll be wondering why you ever ate the plain yellow popcorn from the store, which tastes kind of like puffed corn cereal. If you’ve never eaten heirloom popcorn I’d highly recommend giving it a try, but be warned, you’ll never be able to eat regular popcorn again!

The weather this past summer was not kind to corn, we didn’t even think we were going to get any for the pantry. About fifteen percent of the ears were moldy because it was so wet towards the end of summer, luckily the rest was fairly nice. The ears were rather small, but I wasn’t home to give them a dose of fertilizer in August. Next time I grow popcorn I’ll underplant with clover to provide lots of nitrogen and add some kelp at planting time. Considering it was only my second year growing popcorn I was impressed with my harvest.

I’ve had a few questions from readers about making stovetop popcorn, which is the only kind we make here since we don’t have a microwave. It tastes so much better than other cooking methods and it’s a great way to add some extra coconut oil and pastured butter to your diet (if you haven’t heard about how great these are for your health head on over to the Weston A Price Foundation and read a few articles, once you do you’ll be searching for ways to add them). There’s a how-to video over on the Your Day Blog so you can see how I do it. We’ve been enjoying some this week while we enjoy the 007 Days of Christmas!

Are there any harvests from your summer garden that you’re especially enjoying now?

19 Comments to “Enjoying the Fruits of our Labor”
  1. Ken Toney on December 31, 2011 at 4:55 am

    Still enjoying the tomato soup I canned thanks to your recipe. I canned 40 quarts and we have 16 left. It is delicious! I tried growing popcorn but all of mine molded on the stalk. I’ll try again next year.

    Reply to Ken Toney's comment

    • Susy on December 31, 2011 at 8:39 am

      It was a tough year for corn, we were thankful we got any at all, didn’t think we would. Glad you’re enjoying the soup, we love it too!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. itchbay on December 31, 2011 at 5:12 am

    We get the red popcorn from our CSA. So so so delicious!

    Reply to itchbay's comment

  3. kristin @ going country on December 31, 2011 at 6:00 am

    You know, I never have tried the local popcorn, and I can’t imagine why not. I think it’s even in stock at the little store in the village that carries all local foods and wines. Must get some.

    I’ve been loving my frozen green beans lately. Such a pain to do in the summer, but SO worth it in the middle of winter.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  4. Allison on December 31, 2011 at 9:20 am

    We are going to plant some popcorn this coming year; I am excited to give it a try. I have never had it before. I see it at Local Roots all the time…maybe next time I will make the mental note to pick some up.

    Reply to Allison's comment

  5. Nebraska Dave on December 31, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Susy, I think it’s quite humorous that instruction would have to be given to pop popcorn on the stove. I too grew up in a era without mirowaves. I do miss the gas stove and when replacement in my kitchen requires a new stove, I just might go back to a gas stove. I have popped corn on the stove with a clear lid so the grandson can watch the corn pop. My grandson loves to eat popcorn and dill pickles while watching TV.

    I might have to integrate popcorn into the newly purchased garden area. Can you grow sweet corn and popcorn near each other? The ground clover under the corn is a great idea.

    Have a great New Year.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

    • Susy on December 31, 2011 at 10:37 am

      You can grow corn next to each other, though adding some space between is best. You can plant a row of sunflowers between the corn, and stagger planting to lower the risks of cross pollination.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. t on December 31, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    My oldest son and husband have been requesting popcorn for years… the reason I have haven’t done it yet is:
    1.) doesn’t it require a big square space?
    2.)which variety is best
    3.) and … it takes a lot right?
    So how much did you plant and how much space does it require?
    p.s…. you are a gem on the internet I love walking your garden here on the internet…thanks for farming this square of the web!

    Reply to t's comment

  7. Foxglove Lane on December 31, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Such lovely photographs, just visiting for the first time and I am so impressed by your obvious green fingers! Happiest New Year greetings from Ireland:~)

    Reply to Foxglove Lane's comment

  8. KimH on December 31, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    I agree with Dave.. It amuses me that anyone needs instructions on how to pop popcorn on the stove.. We’re not laughing at anyone.. just showing our age.. To be honest, there are lots and lots of blogs online where young homemakers are sharing “awesome new ideas” that is common place knowledge to anyone over the age of 50.. It amazes me sometimes to realize there are generations out there who dont know some of these things, but then again, I guess I forget my age. ;) Thankfully the younger generations have folks like you & others out there sharing this sort of information.

    A note about growing popcorn & sweet corn near each other. I’ve read that sweet corn needs to be isolated from popcorn or field corn or it wont develop a high sugar content, if thats what you’re looking for in your sweet corn.

    I have an awesome corn growing trick if you have raccoons in your neck of the woods who get to your corn before you do.

    When the corn is starting to develop, start sprinkling baby powder on the ground and up the stalk of corn and the lower leaves.. Coons hate getting their paws powdery.. it works wonderfully.. Do NOT under any circumstances get the powder on the tassels or you wont have corn development.. Not sure if this works with flour or any other cheaper white ground flours, but it definitely works with baby powder..
    An old timer in a community garden shared this with me and I always pass it on when I can.

    I canned some green beans with new potatoes from our CSA that Im enjoying now.. I think all I have now is garlic and some herbs that I grew.. Oh.. I also have some spaghetti squash I grew here that I’ll be enjoying soon.. Funny enough, I still have one spaghetti squash I harvested last year that is still good.. I plan to harvest its seeds next time I have some… It amazes me that its still in good shape..

    Reply to KimH's comment

  9. Becky on December 31, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Your popcorn looks wonderful! I’m enjoying garlic that I grew this summer. My first year of growing garlic. Just this week realized that some of my garlic is starting to sprout. I live in the Pacific Northwest and it’s been fairly warm. I had stored it in my garage but have since moved it inside figuring that it would at least be less humid. Does anyone have any storage tips to help prolong the time before it sprouts or is sprouting garlic just a fact of having a lot of stored bulbs? :) Regardless, it’s still tasty and I just figure that means the bulbs I saved and planted outside are probably sprouting, too!

    Reply to Becky's comment

  10. Texan on December 31, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Yummy, I love corn, though I cannot eat it. Allergic. But yummmmmmy, if I could I would so grow popcorn!! I use coconut oil a lot :O).

    Reply to Texan's comment

  11. MAYBELLINE on December 31, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    I too do not have a microwave and frequently make popcorn. It’s the only way I know. If you would like to enjoy your corn a different way, try making caramel corn. Oh dang. That’s good.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  12. Daedre Craig on January 1, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    I’ve never grown corn, but it’s on my list for 2012.

    Reply to Daedre Craig's comment

  13. deedee on January 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    totally jealous of your popcorn :) where do you get your jars? i love them :)

    Reply to deedee's comment

  14. Jinger on January 2, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Where is the picture of the cooked popcorn – you know the one that will make our mouths water ;)

    Reply to Jinger's comment

    • Susy on January 2, 2012 at 10:12 pm

      We ate it before we got the chance to take it :)

      Reply to Susy's comment

  15. Lee on January 2, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    I made stovetop popcorn for the first time tonight – it was a big hit and incredibly easy. Thanks!

    Reply to Lee's comment

    • Susy on January 2, 2012 at 10:12 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply to Susy's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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