On May 28, 2016, kids at the Las Flores Community Garden planted popcorn and now it is ready to harvest. Kids planted two 5 ft x 5 ft raised beds with three rows of popcorn seeds. Popcorn is the oldest of the three main types of corn. There is field corn, which is fed to animals like cattle and pigs; sweet corn, which is the kind we eat; and popcorn. Popcorn was discovered by Native Americans thousands of years ago. In a bat cave in New Mexico, archeologists found some popped corn that was 5,600 years old. In Peru, some thousand year old kernels of popcorn were found that could still be popped!
Popcorn pops because the heart of the kernel is moist and pulpy and surrounded by a hard starch shell. When the kernel is heated, the moisture turns to steam and the heart gets bigger until the shell bursts with a pop. Popcorn is best stored in a tight jar in the refrigerator so the kernels keep their moisture. Low in fat and calories and rich in protein and fiber, popcorn is real whole food with more nutrients than most other snacks and kids love it.