The kernels from this lovely corn were a gift to me 5 years ago, by a wonderful student at the Yale School of Forestry. He came to meet me at my house, shortly after the birth of my second child, and brought this beautiful heirloom Japonica corn seed as a gift. Needless to say, between having two children, working, and having a small yard with only 6 hours of sun (not nearly enough for corn)...five years went by and this seed sat dormant in my kitchen drawer not seeing the light of day. This year, I finally thought to pull it out and plant it at my kid's school garden; a lovely garden with southern exposure and not a drop of shade all day long. Miraculously the two little rows of five-year-old corn seed sprouted stalks and grew to about 6 feet tall. We harvested a few ears of corn, pealed back the husks and discovered purple, and garnet colored kernels, hard to the touch, and realize we had no idea what to do with this corn. I couldn't imagine that it was only ornamental, after all, it was given to me by a food lover. I figured it could be ground for corn meal, but since I don't have a grain mill, and didn't much feel like doing it by hand, I went for popping first. And, to the great pleasure of my popcorn loving family, it worked. Purple popcorn=pure joy.
To pop your own corn: pick the kernels off the cob, put 1/2 cup to 1 cup of them in a heavy bottomed pot with a few tablespoons of oil, cover and shake over high heat until the corn starts popping. Shake vigorously so the corn doesn't burn. If it sounds like there is not enough room for the corn to pop (muffled sound) pour some of the popped corn into a bowl, and continue popping the rest in the pot. When the popping stops, the corn is done. Wipe out the pot with a towel, toss in a few tablespoons of butter, the heat of the pan will melt it. Drizzle over popcorn, toss, sprinkle with salt, toss some more and you are done! For a fun variation, try a little Sambar curry powder and a pinch of sugar or honey.
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