Popcorn Shoots are grown by growing popcorn in the dark for about 10 days! When kept in the dark the shoots are tender and very sweet, if they were grown in the light they would be green and fibrous. We use our cooler as a growing space because it’s currently not in use but still well ventilated with the fans running.
Preparation Tips: Popcorn Shoots are super sweet, almost too sweet or reminiscent of artificial sweetener, reminding us that someone had the idea for high fructose corn syrup for a reason! Weird question: Have you ever gnawed on a corn stalk? I hadn’t, until I saw my aunt feeding some to the horses and so I had to try it. They too, are almost cloying in their sweetness! (HFCS is a chemical process, don’t worry, your shoots don’t contain it, lol!). So be warned, Popcorn Shoots are sweet!
They pair well with a nice vinaigrette, and make a killer garnish for a corn chowder. We like them on tacos and they really highlight all the flavours of a well composed salad (you know, one that contains nuts and fruit and something for crunch and lots of variety). If you’re totally out of ideas, you can shock and amaze people by passing out corn shoots and daring them to “try THIS!”. We’re excited to share these with you as they are really different and everyone is always amazed by them!
Season: We will probably keep this as a special production for our Spring Shoots CSA Program and future winter growing projects, but we may produce some for the early spring markets as well.
Storage Tips: I know it’s important to keep the live trays of corn shoots out of the light, but I’m not sure if that also goes for the shoots once they are cut and in bags. I doubt it, but you never know, they might turn green if you leave them out in the light, so don’t do that! Your fridge is fine for storage. The light goes out when the door is closed, I swear!! (Myrah doesn’t believe me, on the fridge or the dryer. She is constantly opening both to see if the light is still on!).
They should be rinsed just before use. We don’t wash any shoots at the farm as they degrade quickly when wet. If you get them home and there is condensation (wetness) in the bag, make sure to insert a piece of towel or switch them to a dry bag so they will keep well. They will store well covered (in a bag or container) in your fridge for a long time, but are best enjoyed within a week of when you buy them.