Survey time
Recipe: Arugula and Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

What do I do with this popcorn?

<p>Even better than surveys, it's popcorn time.</p> <p>Before you can pop your popcorn, you need to dry it. We tried drying a few test batches for you in a warm oven, but we've had a tough time getting the popcorn to the ideal 13% moisture level. I suspect it's a little too moist right now, and with a few hours in the oven, our popping success raised from 10% of kernels popping to 50%. But perhaps we are over-drying it, because we can't seem to improve on 50% popping success. In years past, we've recommended that you keep your popcorn in your pantry for a month or so before you pop it, which worked well for me at least. Next year, I hope to get access to a moisture meter (most corn growers keep one if they hope to store their corn in a silo). </p> <p>Until then, here are my suggestions...</p> <p>To Dry:</p> <p>1) Leave the popcorn in a paper bag--not plastic. In a month, test a few kernels. If they pop, then pop the rest and enjoy!<br />2) If you want to eat it now, you're welcome to try the same thing I did. Leave the popcorn in the oven at it's lowest setting (100-200 degrees) for an hour or two, and give it a try. </p> <p>To Pop, follow the same procedure you would for store-bought microwave or regular popcorn:</p> <p>1) Microwave: Put the loose popcorn or the whole popcorn cob in a closed paper bag in the microwave. Set it for ten minutes, then allow it to pop until the rate of popping slows down. Don't pop it for the full ten minutes or it will burn! (My microwave took about 6 minutes.) If you want to watch the kernels pop off the cob, you can leave it out of the bag.</p> <p>2) On the stove: Cover the bottom of your dutch oven or some other heavy, lidded pot with a good amount of oil (my parents used to use 1/4 cup oil and a 1/4 cup popcorn). Heat the oil until a few test kernels pop. Then add the rest of your popcorn and shake vigorously while it's popping. Again, remove it from heat when you hear the popping slow down to one pop every couple seconds. </p> <p>In general, don't season the popcorn with your butter, salt, parmesan, tamari, etc. until it's popped.</p> <p>If you have a little time and curiousity, I recommend the kid-friendly Jolly Time&nbsp; <a href="http://www.jollytime.com/kids_corner/science1.asp">Popcorn Science</a> site. They have a much better review of the science of popping corn that's interesting for kids and the young at heart.</p>

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