Ingredient Spotlight: Heirloom Popcorn

updated May 2, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Look at the gorgeous heirloom popcorn we found on our recent trip to the Midwest! Now that we have experienced this diversity of color and flavor, we don’t think we can ever go back to “standard” popcorn. Can’t find heirloom popcorn at your local farmers’ market or store? Don’t worry, we have some online resources for you…

Emma first posted about red, white, and blue popcorn earlier this year. If you’ve never tried these and other heirloom varieties, you might be surprised to learn that they aren’t just pretty to look at but also have unique flavor characteristics. Unlike the corn bred for mass production, these have a real diversity of flavor, with some more nutty and others more sweet. The texture can vary, too, from light and tender to a more robust crunch. (Alas, they do all turn white or yellow when popped.)

Some heirloom varieties may even be hundreds or even thousands of years old. The ones pictured above are baby yellow, red ruby, baby rice, blue heron, and black hills.

If you don’t have access to heirloom popcorn at your farmers’ market or other local stores, check out these mail order sources:
Amish Country Popcorn
Boulder Popcorn
Crown Jewel Gourmet
Fireworks Popcorn
479° Popcorn

(Image: Emily Ho)