Since 90 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. is GMO, most of the popcorn is also GMO, right? Wrong!
Jeffrey Smith, the director of The Institute for Responsible Technology, said in an interview in 2011, that all popcorn is GMO-free. Popcorn comes from a different seed than corn and has not been genetically modified.
Grist.org, an environmental website, explains: “According to the Popcorn Board, a nonprofit, check-off organization funded by U.S. popcorn processors, there is no genetically modified popcorn on the market — but, biotech varieties are in the works. How long popcorn will stay genetically pure is anyone’s guess, but it may be a moot speculation.”
Although conventionally grown popcorn is GMO-free, it has been sprayed with herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers. Therefore, it’s best to buy organic.
However, organic popcorn can be expensive. And with the cost of food is rising, corn is going to get even more expensive. Due to extreme weather this winter—as well as the political uncertainty in the Ukraine—the cost of corn has increased.
According to spend.com: “Corn prices are rising again! When we wrote about corn in October, prices were steadily heading south. The falls continued through to December, when prices were at a three-year low in the aftermath of a record US production and surprisingly high global stocks. However, the trend reversed at the turn of the year, and by the end of April, corn futures on CBOT were trading 20 percent higher than in the beginning of January.”
Here are six simple steps for planting popcorn:
- Soak the seeds 12 hours before planting.
- Between Mother’s Day and the Fourth of July, plant the seeds 1 to 1-½ inches deep and 12 inches apart.
- Check the soil and water frequently.
- Keep the soil weed-free; when stalks are knee high, heap up soil around the exposed roots to give the plants additional support.
- In early October, take the ears inside to dry.
- When the kernels are completely dry, husk the ears and twist the corn cobs; the kernels will fall off and you can store them in an airtight container.
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When planting popcorn, here are some important things to keep in mind:
- Don’t plant popcorn in the same garden as sweet corn; it might cross-pollinate and destroy both crops.
- Typically, only 75 percent of the seeds germinate; so put two kernels in each hole.
- Popcorn sold in jars or bags in the supermarket may be old or treated with chemical or flavor preservatives; don’t use them because they may not sprout.
- Popcorn needs about 2 inches of water a week.
- Three fertilizations work best: when seeds are planted; when the stalks are knee-high, and again when the tassels appear at the top of the stalks.
- Remember to set aside some seeds so you can grow another lot of popcorn again next year!
And once you have your popcorn ready to pop, try this delicious recipe that is my family’s favorite.
Do you love cheese, but not the fat or calories? Then you’ll enjoy this cheesy popcorn with nutritional yeast. You can find nutritional yeast in most natural grocery stores. It’s dairy-free and high in B-complex vitamins.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- ½ cup popcorn kernels
- 1 tablespoon melted butter or oil (optional)
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, more or less to taste
- 1-2 teaspoons salt
- In a large pot, place oil and about 3 popcorn kernels.
- Heat over medium heat until a kernel pops. Add remaining popcorn; cover with lid.
- When corn begins to pop, shake the pot.
- When the popping slows, transfer popcorn to a serving bowl.
- Pour butter or additional oil, if desired, over popcorn, and toss.
- Sprinkle nutritional yeast and salt over popcorn and toss to distribute evenly.
Serve and enjoy your homegrown, organic popcorn!