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Popcorn Talk

Growing popcorn to full maturity requires an exceptional, and exceptionally long, growing season. Here in the southwestern corner of Quebec, we some of the best soil and growing conditions in the province, but Mother Nature still has the final word. A cooler than normal summer and early killing frost can spell disaster for the popcorn crop.

That is why we try to keep a year ahead of demand for our popcorn supply by growing more than we predict we will need for the coming year’s sales. There is no need to worry about freshness, either, as popcorn has no real expiry date.

What makes popcorn pop?

It is water, or the moisture trapped inside the popcorn kernel that makes popcorn pop. As the kernel heats up, the moisture in its starch vaporizes, building up pressure until the wall of the kernel lets go and each of the millions of grains of starch explodes. These bursts puff, fluff and tenderize by turning not inside out, which explains why even coloured popcorn grains will be basically white when popped.

Loss of moisture

If you have had popcorn in your pantry for a while, and find that it is not popping as well as it did when you first bought it, it may have become too dry. Try placing the popcorn in a sealed container and adding one or two teaspoons of water. Allow the kernels to absorb the moisture for a few days, and you should see an improved pop,

White Lightning

“White Lightning” is grown from a non-GMO, hybrid variety of seed. Although sometimes mistaken for the common yellow variety of popcorn, a side by side comparison reveals “White Lightning” to be much lighter in colour, popping up bright white. The resulting popcorn possesses a delicate, crispy texture and a slightly nutty flavour.

Midnight Special

“Midnight Special” is grown from a non-GMO, open-pollinated variety of seed. Although referred to as black, the kernels on this eye-catching variety are actually deep red in colour. Open-pollinated varieties will almost always yield less volume when popped, but the resulting popcorn has a unique, almost sweet-corn like taste with a crispy, crunchy texture.

What is a hybrid?

A hybrid plant is created by deliberately crossing two different parent varieties of the same species, combining the best traits of each variety. This produces a plant with better disease resistance, yield a. uniformity. These are not genetically modified, but are created through traditional plant breeding techniques.

What does open-pollinated mean?

Steve and Loraine, owners of Tullochgorum Farm Organic Popcorn, checking on their crops.