Our family loves popcorn as a snack. When I was a child, our family made a big batch every Friday evening. When we had our own family, we often made a huge bowl to snack on while we watched a movie on TV. Now all of our children frequently make a batch of popcorn regularly. Our daughter-in-law adds some nutrition to the mix by sprinkling it with yeast powder.
So I was intrigued when Sarah and Evan introduced me to popped sorghum. I had never seen it before. Sorghum is a grass that first came from Africa, but is now cultivated world-wide and used as a grain or forage. It is used for flat breads, syrup/molasses, and the production of ethanol. It comes as pepper-corn-sized grains that pop up into little puffs that look just like miniature popped popcorn kernels but have a nuttier taste than regular popcorn. Otherwise, you prepare the two just the same – in hot oil, in a paper bag in the microwave, or with an air popper. Then you can eat plain, salt, add butter, or flavor to your preference.
Sarah and Evan use popped sorghum in creative ways with fresh tomatoes, roasted pecans, pasta, etc., etc. I am not that creative. Besides, I fall back on my childhood ways and just like to eat it with melted butter out of a big bowl.
If you want to give popped sorghum a try, you can order it on the internet from Mini Pops, Inc., Stoughton, Mass.. (Three pounds for $8.49 plus shipping)
- ¼ cup sorghum grain
- (3 tablespoons vegetable oil if popping in a saucepan)
- salt and oil or melted butter to taste
- Place sorghum grains in a brown paper lunch bag. Fold the top of the bag and fasten with two staples three inches apart to prevent arcing.
- Place the paper bag in a microwave oven (preferably with turntable) set on high for 3 minutes.(It will probably take 2 minutes or less to complete the popping)
- Start the microwave and listen carefully to the sound of popping. As soon as it slows down, remove the bag from the microwave. Don’t hesitate or you will wind up with burned kernels.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and season with salt and oil or melted butter as desired.
- Alternatively, heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil over high heat in a heavy bottomed 4-quart saucepan with tight-fitting lid. Add 5 grains of sorghum.
- When the sorghum grains pop, add the remaining sorghum and cover the pan with the lid.
- Shake the pan gently over high heat. Listen for popping. When it slows, remove the pan from the burner, and transfer the popped sorghum to a serving bowl and season as desired.