Ready or Not #63: Popcorn

The last time that I bought popcorn I bought 50 lbs. of it for only $9.88. And so you say “Big deal, why in the world would you want to eat 50lbs. of popcorn?” Well, it’s because I like popcorn – that and I can grind it and have fresh ground cornmeal and popcorn stores for a very long time in your food storage. When grinding popcorn it is important that you use an electric grinder and preferably a cooler one. I tried to grind the popcorn by hand once, but it got too hot and started to pop.

One of my favorite corn bread recipes uses fresh ground popcorn kernels.

Mom’s Cornbread
1 ½ cups flour
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups cornmeal
3 eggs
2 Tablespoons baking powder
¾ cup oil
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups milk

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients just until well moistened. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan and bake for 20 minutes. I actually prefer to pour my batter into a greased or sprayed muffin tin. This is a very moist cornbread and it tastes really good, but cornbread is inherently crumbly and somewhat difficult for kids, and me, to handle. I have found that by serving it up muffin style it is easier to pop off the top and butter it while still maintaining its shape better than the traditional cut square style. Muffin style also makes it easier to eat on the run or as a snack.

Another really quick, yummy, easy recipe is Tamale Pie. This is especially good for camping out or for scouts that want to cook up something quick, easy and delicious in the Dutch Oven.

Tamale Pie
6 cups Chili – homemade or your favorite brand
2 cups cornmeal
5 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

Place water, cornmeal and salt in a double boiler and cook covered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until quite stiff. Line the bottom of a greased deep casserole dish with ½ of the prepared cornmeal. Pour in the chili and then spread the top with the remaining cornmeal. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

This is so very easy, why wait to try it. And really, look at how many ingredients there are – four. If you have your water stored then you will be able to make this in an emergency (two gallons, per person, per day for a two-week period).

And what would our food storage be if we couldn’t use it to make dessert? Useless. Not really, but certainly not as delicious and remember we want to make our food storage nutritious, easy and good tasting!

Caramel Corn
12 to 14 cups popped popcorn
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter or margarine
¼ cup light corn syrup
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda

Divide popcorn between two un-greased 9×13 pans. Cook brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt over medium heat, stirring occasionally until bubbly around the edges. Continue cooking 5 more minutes and the remove from heat. Stir in baking soda until it goes all foamy (FYI –use one of your larger saucepans or you’ll have a mess on your hands – this is from experience). Pour over popcorn and stir until coated. For crunchier corn, bake uncovered in a 200-degree oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. I have never had the patience to do that and so we have just always eaten it sticky and gooey and yummy! Happy food storage eating!

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