How to pop mini corn cobs?
November 25, 2009 9:39 PM   Subscribe

A month ago we purchased decorative mini corn cobs that looked a lot like the "mini indian corn" on this page. Attached to the cobs were instructions (now misplaced) that gave instructions to soak and then pop the corn. The decorative phase for the corn is waning, and we're ready to pop it. How?

All online links we can find don't mention any soaking step, at least not for corn still on the cob, so we're not sure how to proceed. We can tell from various sites that one option is to simply put a cob in a paper bag in the microwave, but we're wondering if maybe with these we really ought to soak it, given that the instructions specifically mentioned a soaking step - how long and do we then dry it out or pop it right away?

If anyone's local, they were from the Berkeley Bowl. Anyone have the same cobs WITH instructions?
posted by quinoa to Food & Drink (8 answers total)
Best answer: My Grandpa was actually a popcorn farmer for some time. We'd get bushels of the ears all the time. Generally we'd just take the kernels off of one or two cobs, soak them in water for a bit (5-10 minutes), dry the kernels off in some towels, then pop. Use Peanut oil for maximum yummy.

If you get a lot of duds, soak them longer.
posted by sanka at 10:08 PM on November 25, 2009

I've purchased popping corn on the cob before; it may be similar. You put it in a paper bag, tightly fold the bag all the way up to the cob and microwave until the popping stops.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 10:11 PM on November 25, 2009

I have a few ears of popcorn, and haven't yet figured out what to do with them. sanka, how do you get the kernels off the cobs? I don't have a microwave so am doing it old-school with the pot and the oil.
posted by librarina at 11:33 PM on November 25, 2009

sanka, how do you get the kernels off the cobs?

I'm not sanka, but I've done it with my hands before. Sort of give it an indian burn. It helps to take a knife to a row of kernels to get it started.
posted by Netzapper at 12:55 AM on November 26, 2009

Why do you soak the corn? The popping corn I buy in bags just tells me to put it directly in a covered saucepan.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:50 AM on November 26, 2009

You soak the corn to put moisture back into the kernel. It's the steam that makes it pop. The popcorn you buy in a store has likely not been sitting out on display for months or more, so it still has plenty of moisture.
posted by sanka at 8:06 AM on November 26, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, sanka. We'll soak for 5-10 minutes, dry the kernels, and then pop.

Following the question of water, check out this video for a gorgeous view of popcorn popping. You can see the water being expelled from some of the kernels.
posted by quinoa at 12:38 PM on November 26, 2009

Response by poster: Here's a belated follow-up.

We soaked the corn cobs in warm water for 15 minutes. Put them in a paper bag in the microwave for a minute, took them out as soon as the pops slowed down.

Voila! Mini popcorn! Very easy and super cute!
posted by quinoa at 8:01 PM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

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