Can you Pop the Corn on a Corn-On-The-Cob (Sweetcorn)?

  • Author: Sue Dorrens
  • Published: November 17, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.
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We Americans sure are a resourceful bunch. Not only have we invented ingenious devices like the automobile and lightbulb, but when it comes to food, we’ve found ways to make even the simplest dishes interesting and unique.

Case in point: corn on the cob. Sure, it’s easy enough to just boil some corn, slather it in butter, and call it a day. But can you pop the corn right on the cob? Believe it or not, yes you can! And it’s a fun (and tasty) way to enjoy this summertime favorite. Keep reading for instructions on how to do it yourself…

Can You Pop Popcorn On A Corn Cob?

Yes, you can pop popcorn on a corn cob! Popcorn is a kind of corn that is bred particularly for popping. The kernels are smaller and more rigid than sweet corn kernels. Sweetcorn is the sort of corn that you would eat off the cob. It is not meant for popping and will not pop as popcorn does.

The cob of corn is where it’s at for all you moviegoers out there. The thicker skin means more crunch and chew, which also helps your digestive health!

Whether it’s sweet or savory (or both), kernels popped on a cob make eating popcorn so much better than simply popping them in an air popper – plus, who doesn’t love adding some spice to their day?

It’s almost hard to choose just one type of popcorn for this list, but I think we all know that the classic sweet corn is nothing more than pureed peas in its shell. But if you’re looking forward to popping your kernel and tasting how different it can be, plenty is out on offer!

For instance, Heirloom Strawberry has ruby-colored kernels which will burst open when they become hot enough – while Robust Yellow Hulles Hybrid makes excellent bright yellow cobs with sturdy thick skins capable of protecting against moisture during storage.

Can any Corn be Used for Popcorn?

popping corn on the cob

No, not all corn can be used for popcorn. The only type of corn that will pop is Zea mays var. everta, which has a thicker outer skin than sweet corn types. Popcorn is very diverse, with many colors and textures.

For popcorn to pop correctly, it must have less than 25% moisture. If popcorn and sweetcorn drop pollen simultaneously in the same garden, their quality may diminish. Popcorn needs a strong shell that can withstand pressure so that fresh sweetcorn husk won’t do.

Sweet corn is plucked when tender, while the popcorn is plucked when it’s brown. Thus, not all corn can be used for popcorn.

How Do You Cook Popcorn on Corn on the Cob?

You can cook popcorn on corn on the cob in a few different ways:

  • Microwave the corn cob in a paper bag
  • Heat oil on medium-high in a saucepan

Method for Microwaving Popcorn on a Cob

Microwave popcorn on a corn cob by rubbing butter on a dried corn cob and then placing it in a brown microwave-proof bag.

  • Remove the silks from the dried popcorn corn cobs and coat them with butter.
  • Place the corn in a brown paper bag and firmly secure it.
  • Place the bag into a second bag; the bottom ends point in different directions.
  • Microwave it for 3-4 minutes will vary according to the wattage of your microwave.

It may take patience on a cob, and cooking time will differ depending on the nuke, so read our guide on how long to microwave popcorn without burning it.

Method for Oventop Popcorn on a Cob

Put the cobs in a pot, cover it, and wait for it to pop. 2-3 corn cobs make enough popcorn. Ensure your pan has adequate room for the popcorn.

  • In a big saucepan or pan, place 2 popcorn kernel cobs.
  • Cover the pan/pot with a glass cover and wait for the popcorn to pop.
  • Using tongs, remove the popcorn cobs from the heat as soon as 50% of the kernels have emerged.
  • Set away the pan/pot when it has been removed from the heat.
  • Return the cobs to the pan and return to the heat to complete the popping.
  • Remove the popped kernels from the pan and set them aside to prevent them from burning.

Keep in mind it’s all about heat control and time; some loathe this procedure as you can invariably burn the popcorn cob.

Does Popcorn Grow on a Cob?

Popcorn grows on a cob, also known as an ear of corn. The kernels of popcorn are attached to the cob in rows. When the kernels are popped, they detach from the cob and expand in size.

While popcorn may seem like a portion of entirely different food, popcorn and field corn are similar. Both corn types are grown from seeds, take around the same amount of time to germinate and emerge from the ground, and are on cobs.

However, there are some critical differences between popcorn and field corn:

  • Popcorn tassels are umbrella-shaped
  • Field corn tassels are more straight and narrow

When it comes to growing popcorn, farmers usually grow two types: butterfly popcorn and mushroom corn.

  • Butterfly popcorn: similarly to how it pops – the kernels explode into thin, delicate butterflies.
  • Mushroom corn: is ball-shaped and pops much more evenly.

Once the ears of corn are harvested, they are split open, and the kernels are removed. The kernels are then evaluated to remove any that won’t pop. If you’re fortunate enough to obtain a few cobs from a local farmer, this is where you can start your popcorn adventure.

How to Grow Homemade Popcorn Kernels?

You must have the proper soil. Sandy loam is preferable, and seeds should be planted approximately 1 inch deep. Plant your seedlings 8 inches apart, 18 inches apart, or in bunches spaced apart. It will take around 90 days to reach full growth.

TIP – Development requires attention to detail. We want sunshine and water, as well as warmth in the form of mulch and a rich compost or organic fertilizer.

Growing plants’ tassels will be coated with pollen. Pollen is captured by female ears and silks and lands on corn silks to fertilize the cob. Cross-pollination may alter the flavor of sweet corn and popcorn kernels, so grow different species of corn in separate plots.

You will also need to keep corn earworms at bay. Moths are drawn to maize by its aromatic silks. These moths deposit eggs on silks, which hatch into crop-damaging earworms.

You may attempt the pest-control solutions listed below sparingly.

  • Insects and maize earworms may be controlled with organic Neem oil and water.
  • Spinosad is made from naturally occurring bacteria, and earworms can’t resist it.

How to Store and Dry Popcorn Kernels?

Hang husked ears in a warm, dry, well-ventilated area. Popcorn should have 13 to 14% moisture. Pop kernels once or twice a week. Air-drying popcorn on a screen, newspaper or brown paper bags is preferable. Warm, dry. Kernels dry in two weeks. Always flip them, so they dry evenly.

Keep the dried kernels or cobs in a cool, dark, airtight container. They’ll persist for months, if not years. Depending on the weather, drying time might vary from one week to several weeks.

The popcorn is ready to be shelled, or you can try your hand at popping it on the cob for some fun.

Let’s Get Popping!

Thank you for reading our article on popping corn kernels on a cob! We hope you enjoyed it and learned something new.

Did you know that unpopped kernels at the bottom of a popcorn bag are called old maids?

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