"Pretty" corn is nice to look at, but what do people do when they are done looking at it?
Every fall, at least here in the United States, millions of these colorful cobs are sold! The main purpose for most people is simple: some festive decor for the fall/halloween/thankgiving/harvest season.
Sometimes though, I wonder. What do they do with them after that? Do they put them in a box to look at again next year? Do they throw them out in the garbage? Do they put them out by the bird feeder for the squirrels? Who knows?
Well, since @papa-pepper is a little different, I actually have a few potential practical uses for them once all of the decorative looking at them is over. Part of what I am attempting to accomplish by homesteading is not wasting money, so if I purchase something like these ornamental cobs, I had better be able to at least do something useful with them!
HOW TO GET MORE FROM YOUR ORNAMENTAL CORN
WILL THEY GROW?
I had a hunch that beautiful corn could be more useful than just looking at it, so I wanted to do a germination test. A lot of the corn out there is modified, but I think that they mostly stick to the yellow stuff with their manipulations. If these seeds would successfully germinate, then I would have some more possibilities.
I removed a few kernels from each cob. I had three small cobs and three large ones, and I took about five seeds from each. I then placed them on a wet paper towel and rolled them up, placing them in a plastic bag to preserve moisture. After a few days, I checked them to see if any progress had been made.
Sure enough, every single seed had sprouted. They now all have a root and a shoot! This means that the seeds can be used to grow more of this corn, which gives me some options. Would any of them taste like sweet corn? Could I make a corn meal from them to use in things like tortillas once the kernels dry and harden? Could they be used as animal feed? Can I just grow my own ornamental corn and never buy any again? Could I potentially sell ornamental corn next year to supplement my income?
The answer to at least the last three of those questions is "yes!" I'll have to look into those first two, but I certainly have some options now!
Another interesting use for corn is popcorn! This was an easy test too!
I decided to take a few kernels from each cob and heat them on the stove in some oil. It only took a few moments to see the results. I started with the small cobs.
Shortly after starting my research, the kernels started popping. I love experiments like this. They are fun, the @little-peppers can help, and if you are successful, you can eat the results!
The dried kernels from every cob did very well in my test. Almost every single kernel was now popcorn!
Next I moved on to the large cobs with bigger kernels. Again I just removed some from each cob.
Soon, they were popping too, but something else happened as well.
The kernels from one particular cob would not properly pop. This means that particular cob will not be able to be grown for this purpose, but other options for it still exist. Overall, to have 5 out of 6 cobs be able to produce popcorn was not too bad. Have any of you ever made popcorn from ornamental corn cobs that you purchased?
LET'S CELEBRATE THE HARVEST!
Popping all of this corn for our experiment got us thinking. Maybe we should just make some popcorn. Since we had a good harvest of the popcorn that we grew ourselves this year, the @little-peppers got out our bag. They planted, watered, and harvested this popcorn, but we had not actually popped any yet.
Soon. we had a bowl full of our own homegrown popcorn to enjoy! We got out a movie and gathered as a family to enjoy some time together and to enjoy the fruit of our labor!
As always, I'm @papa-pepper and here's the proof:
Until next time…
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