Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Iowa Corn | A lot to learn


Nine years ago, Zach brought me across the country to visit his grandparents at the farm. Since I hadn't yet been west of Tennessee, you can imagine my surprise as I observed the changes in the landscape. From the rolling hills of North Carolina, over the Appalachian Mountains (pronounced App-a-latch-un, if you're a native North Carolinian), across the breathtaking horse pastures of Kentucky, and into the Midwest where the sky stretches forever and the fields are filled with corn, soybeans, and windmills into the horizon. 

I remember being amazed as we made our way into Iowa. The sheer amount of corn had me in awe as we drove through "the land of opportunity."  The fields spread as far as I could see, and we drove past one farm after another. Can you imagine the shock when I found out that 99% off all of that corn wasn't for eating? I was seeing "field corn," which is not what you buy at the grocery to eat. I was quite stunned when I found out that only one percent of the corn grown in the US is sweet corn and grown for human consumption. To be perfectly honest, I had no idea I was eating "sweet corn"... we've always just called it corn. :) 

Can you tell I've had quite a bit to learn about Iowa and corn? Don't worry, Saint Olaf folks... I've got my kernels straight and know what's for dinner... SWEET CORN!

Well, I thought I had it all figured out, until I was recently gifted a few ears of popcorn from a neighbor. My generous neighbor has a friend who grows popcorn. That made me wonder, what category does popcorn fall under? Thanks to google search and some quick research, I found out: popcorn is yet another variety of corn that has a hard, moisture-resistant hull that surrounds a dense pocket of starch that will pop when heated, and it's a whole grain. So it isn't sweet corn or field corn. You can find more on this over at After reading their story, I'm going to have to try theirs next! 

Iowa Pop!

This was my first time making popcorn straight from the cob! Zach is the popcorn maker in our family, so I'll actually give him the credit.

If you're interested, our favorite popcorn tips are: the Warring Pro popcorn maker (which we got to have at our wedding reception 6 years ago), and coconut oil. I know what you're probably thinking, who really pulls out a big popcorn maker at home and where in the world do you store it? We do, and it's totally worth it! LOL! We love it and have used it regularly for six years. It's always a crowd pleaser, and after research, and trial and error, Zach has gotten our "movie theater popcorn" at home down to an art!

I'm not gonna lie, I've been on a popcorn binge for the last several months. It's fitting that I've finally learned something about it. 

I've also learned that though the kernels of some wild types will pop, the cultivated strain is 
Zea mays evertaand that there are actually two different varieties of popcorn: a fluffy "butterfly" variety and a sturdier variety called "mushroom popcorn" that is most often used for coating with flavorings. 

Do you have a favorite popcorn? Do you prefer movie theater pop or sweet caramel corn? I love them all! 

...And it turned out DELICIOUS!!
I'm looking forward to trying it again with different toppings!


Maybe I've piqued your interest in Iowa corn? Find more facts by visiting:

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