Years ago — and I do mean years ago — my friend Jody raved about something she called popcorn shoots. Technically, growing seeds in small amounts of soil like this is growing microgreens (like these sunflower sprouts), but I digress. Jody just raved and I put them on my list of things to try, and then life happened.
Here’s what prompted me to finally try growing these popcorn sprouts: Chris’s post about growing microgreens and my current lack of fresh greens from the garden. And I’m here to tell you that Jody was right. Popcorn shoots are quite tasty! They’re a bit sweet and have a very subtle taste of sweet corn.
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Grow Your Own Organic Popcorn Shoots
- a recycled plastic salad container
- potting soil
- organic popcorn
Fill container with about 2″ of potting soil. Make certain that the container has drainable holes to allow excess water to escape. Scatter popcorn over the soil. In this case, don’t worry about overcrowding the seeds – the wee corn sprouts don’t mind being crowded. You want the seeds to be in a pretty solid single layer on top of the soil, as pictured below.
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Cover popcorn with a layer of potting soil about 1″ thick. Water thoroughly and close the plastic lid. This helps to retain moisture until the popcorn shoots sprout.
Related: How to Plant a Seed
Place in a sunny window, being sure to use a drainage container underneath it to capture moisture. In two or three days you’ll see tiny popcorn shoots starting to appear. At this point, you’ll want to open the lid to give the growing corn sprouts room to grow. Watch the growing popcorn shoots carefully and water as needed to keep the soil damp but not overly wet.
In another couple of days, the popcorn sprouts will be 2-3″ tall and ready to harvest. Don’t let them get much taller than that, or they’ll lose their sweetness.
To harvest, simply use scissors to snip them off at the base. And surprise! Those seeds will push out a second harvest in another couple of days. Use these popcorn shoots as you would any other microgreen: Add to salads, sandwiches, and wraps. Or do like I did and just snack on them plain.
You can grow microgreens year-round, but they have a special appeal during the winter months when fresh greens from the garden are a bit sparse. Other options for winter greens to consider:
Even when the garden is closed for the season, you can get your greens on!