Valley Bounty: Maple Popcorn
Maple syrup and popcorn are year-round treats, but especially well-suited to the end of February vacation in a cold, snowy year. Popcorn, of course, can be flavored any number of ways depending on the topping, but you can’t go wrong with maple. Pop the corn (on the cob in a paper bag in the microwave, in an air-popper, or on the stove) as usual, warm up butter and maple syrup in a pan until it reaches a caramel consistency, then toss it with your popcorn and you have maple kettle corn!
By Abby Getman of Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture.
Several local farms grow popcorn and sell it at farmers’ market, farmstands, and through their CSA shares. It’s often available at winter farmers markets or in fall and winter CSA shares. Pioneer Valley Popcorn’s Local Hero listing includes a list of retail outlets where you can find their corn.
Popcorn has probably provided both entertainment and good eating for centuries, but its amusement value has increased a lot since the takeover of microwave popcorn. Few kids today have shelled corn, and many have never even seen it pop. Kids are thrilled to peek in on the popping kernels in a pot on the stove, or to watch them cascade out of an air popper.
If you’ve tried popping local corn and were displeased with the results, make sure the corn is dry enough—leave it vented in a warm area for several days.
If you’ve never popped corn on the stove top, here are directions.
Don’t forget plain butter and salt. Make it even better by putting a smashed clove of garlic in the melting butter. However, there are lots more options! Google or your spice drawer will yield lots of ideas, and here are a few from us:
Here’s more detailed recipe for maple popcorn. Margaret says this is still plenty sweet and maple-y if you increase the quantity of popcorn quite a lot.
Maine blogger Amanda Soule has posted a series of flavoring variations for popcorn. The first one includes her instructions for popping it on the stove top, which differ slightly from those in the link above.
Breakfast Popcorn (with bacon and lard)
Brimfield Special (spicy—paprika, cardamom, pepper)
And, popcorn for dinner! Abby loves Pioneer Valley Heritage Grain CSA’s popcorn nachos, claiming they revolutionized dinner at her house.