When the conversation arises about versatile carbs, the first one that often comes to mind is the potato.
It is just mind blowing how one vegetable alone can be transformed into so many delicious types of food: fries, chips, mashed potatoes, roast potatoes, hash browns… even vodka. It must be witchcraft, surely. It has to be!
What Other Vegetables Could Possibly Match Up To The Power Of A Potato?
I don’t know if I’m the only person who has ever done this, but have you ever looked at a freshly heated corn on the cob, dripping with golden butter, and wondered to yourself, ‘Could I microwave this and turn it into popcorn?’.
After all, they are made up of the same thing: both a cob of corn and popcorn are made up of corn kernels, even if they are different varieties, right?
Surely, it must be possible, I thought to myself. There must be a way.
There are two types of people in the world: the dreamers, and the realists.
If you, like me, dream of a world in which we can have both corn on the cob and popcorn from the same source, perhaps we don’t need to dream much longer.
In this article, we are going to look at how you really can make this happen.
So, how do you microwave corn on the cob to make popcorn?
Let’s jump straight into it.
Is It Really Possible?
You may be surprised to find that the answer is ‘yes’.
However, there are many specific things you must do in preparation for this task: it is, sadly, not just as simple as just tossing a corn on the cob into the microwave and switching it on.
There are a couple more steps that must be followed to ensure your soft, golden corn kernels can transition into crunchy yet fluffy popcorn.
It should be noted that this only works for pure corn grown on a cob, and it will not work if you use sweetcorn instead.
This is because sweetcorn kernels are already soft, and the shell around the kernels are not hard or strong enough to pop into popcorn.
If you microwave sweetcorn, you will simply end up with… well, warm sweetcorn.
So, before you attempt the next part, make sure you have the correct kind of corn for this procedure.
How To Turn Corn On The Cob Into Popcorn
For starters, the original ear of corn must be fully dried and hard: if it has already been boiled and is ready for consumption, your plan is already set up to fail.
It will need to remain in its original, fresh form in order for this recipe to work.
It doesn’t really matter if the corn is removed from the cob, or if you wish to remove each individual kernel.
If you want to remove them, you can use a knife to carefully slice strips of corn away from the cob, collecting them on an oven tray, or an oven safe container.
You will need to make sure the corn is completely bone dry before attempting to microwave them, so place the oven tray or oven safe container in the oven and turn it onto a low heat, leaving the oven door open: you don’t want to cook the kernels.
You only want to dry them out. You can also do this in a microwave oven if you wish, but again, only cook them on a low heat.
Let them heat up for a minute or two until the kernels are pretty solid.
Once the corn kernels are completely dry, transfer them into a brown paper bag.
Next, fold the bag a couple of times over the top so it is almost completely airtight: this will ensure that steam will become trapped within the bag, heating the corn from the inside while it is in the microwave.
If you were to use a microwave safe bowl instead of a paper bag, the same effect would not take place: this is because the corn will need to be completely covered so that hot air moves around the container, heating each individual kernel.
If you were to heat the corn in a bowl, the kernels at the bottom would burn and stick together, and they would all heat up at separate times, meaning many kernels would remain cold and unpopped.
It is possible, however, to use a microwave safe bowl, but only if you use a small plate to cover the top while it is cooking.
This will ensure that the heat will be trapped within the space of the containment. You can use this method if you really wish, but trust me, you will have much better results if you use a paper bag instead.
Once you’ve moved all the corn kernels into the bag, or whichever container you have chosen to use, place them inside the microwave.
Nuke the ingredients for around three to four minutes on a high heat. Your microwave may have a ‘popcorn’ setting: if so, you can use that instead. This will be the correct heat to cook popcorn kernels.
During the time in which the corn is cooking inside the microwave, you will hear a lot of popping inside the container, which is a great sign.
After all, that sound means that the process is actually working! If the popping completely stops before the four minutes run out, you can turn the microwave off and pull the bag out, as this means they have finished cooking.
At this point, you should open the bag to find a load of popcorn! Be careful when you first open it up, as you don’t want to get burned by a load of hot steam blowing directly into your face. You will need to leave it cool for a little while.
And, then, voila! Hopefully, you have successfully transformed a plain corn on the cob into a bag of popcorn.
How To Make Your Popcorn Even Tastier
While plain popcorn may be tasty on its own, there is no harm in adding a couple of extra ingredients to add some extra flavor.
Well, unless by ‘harm’, you mean extra calories.
The most commonly added ingredient added while making popcorn is butter, whether it be salted or unsalted.
Once you have heated the original corn kernels in the oven or microwave to allow them to harden, and you are about to place them inside the paper bag, place them in a separate bowl beforehand and lather in butter.
You can melt the butter beforehand if you wish, but at this point the kernels will already be hot from the oven, therefore the butter will melt the second it makes contact.
Give it a stir, making sure each kernel is covered, and then continue with the recipe as normal.
You can also add chocolate or caramel to the kernels, if you would prefer to create a sweeter treat.
However, you will need to melt these two ingredients before mixing them with the corn: chocolate doesn’t melt as quickly as butter, and caramel takes even longer.
Only add a small amount, as if the corn is coated too thickly it will take longer for it to pop, and may affect how the popcorn cooks overall.
Time To Give It A Try!
Well, what are you waiting for?
Now that you have read our instructions, and now that you know it really is possible, you are ready to create your own fresh, crunchy popcorn from scratch.
If you are a popcorn lover, this is certainly the recipe for you, and providing you follow each instruction carefully, you will be on the right track.
This is a great hack to remember if you are ever craving some popcorn, but realise you don’t have any at home… but, you just so happen to have a spare corn on the cob lying around.
Use this technique to impress your friends, and make sure you never run low on popcorn ever again.
Good luck, and safe cooking!