You might remember that way back last winter, as I was poring through seed catalogues in search of inspiration for my 2012 garden, I struck on pink popcorn as a way to inject a little whimsy into what was starting to feel like a ho-hum routine of planning my plantings for the year.
I didn't devote much space to my first ever corn plants, just a sunny, hot and protected spot where they would have the best possible chance at accumulating the heat units they would need to produce ears. I think I had about two dozen plants in all, most of which produced at least one ear. But the thing with popcorn is that it needs to dry on the plant, which poses a challenge on the West Coast where "fall" means "rain". Some of those ears began to grow mold before they had a chance to properly dry, which meant I ended up with about a dozen adorable little pink ears of popcorn.
I must have been waiting for the stars and moon to align in a certain way, because I didn't get around to trying it until tonight. After Googling instructions for popping corn still on the cob, I put the entire cob (minus its leaves) in a paper bag in the microwave.
Which just goes to show you shouldn't believe everything you read on the internet, because this is what happened.
Smoke was pouring out of the bag like nobody's business, but fortunately I got the whole mess out onto the verandah before the smoke detectors went off. The popcorn was so smoky it was inedible. At least there were no flames...
For my second attempt I decided to go with my head rather than Google, and I stripped the kernels off the cob first. The cobs are small, so I ended up with only a couple of tablespoons of kernels, but didn't they pop up beautifully! Startlingly white, fluffy and - miracles - actually tasting of corn.
As a food-growing experiment I judge it a success. Not a practical one - each corn plant took up a fair bit of space, and to end up with a (very) small bowl of popcorn for every two plants isn't a good yield. But it was a fun project, it kept me interested in my garden through my bout of fourth-year-blues, and it has inspired me to try growing some regular corn next year. That's good enough for me.