As the weather starts to get warmer, and the sun shines a bit longer, we all start feeling a little impatient. We want to get outside. Maybe you’ve thought all winter about your garden. We have too. Only on a much bigger scale. But a little patience now will get you big rewards later.
Here in the Heartland, Black Jewell grows the World’s Finest Heritage Popcorns, weather can change in an instant. Young corn shoots are incredibly susceptible to frost damage. Talk to any farmer in the area and they’ll tell you a horror story about a late season snow that wiped out an otherwise healthy young crop. So it is important to wait until after all chance of cold snaps and below freezing night have passed.
Our family farmers take great pride in their crops. They are out in the fields every day checking the conditions. Much like other corn, ideally you want a soil temperature around 60°F maintained for several days. They are also looking for a soil PH of 6.0, a high nitrogen content, and soil which is moist, but not too wet. Things aren’t quite there yet, with soil temperatures of only 54°F,and some recent heavy rains, but we’re getting close. Very, very close.
Remember though, while our farmers have to wait to get into the fields and start planting, you get to enjoy delicious Black Jewell popcorn year round. Lucky you.
The difference between Black Jewell kernels is obvious from even the quickest glance. Unlike the typical yellow or white popcorn you see loaded on your shelves at the local supermarket, the vibrant colors of our popcorn varieties stick out. Our most popular kernel, and the one which is the most striking, is our Original Black. But is there a real difference between our heritage black popcorn and the standard yellow corn you’re used to, or is the difference only hull deep? To answer this question, and to truly understand the amazing differences between the two, we need to start at the beginning.
Almost all of the popcorn grown (around 95%) is of the yellow variety, but why is that? Why does every major popcorn brand use, essentially, the exact same corn? Well, like most fruits and vegetables you’ll find in your local supermarket, popcorn has been bred over the years to be easy to grow and harvest, store for long periods of time, and look a certain way. Yellow popcorn kernels are very large, have thick hulls, and pop very big and dense. Just like with mass-produced tomatoes, this selective breeding is often done at the sacrifice of flavor. As anyone who has ever grown tomatoes in their home gardens can verify.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are our Original Black kernels. This heirloom strain was all but forgotten before Black Jewell began growing it to sell to local markets in 1963. Unlike the common yellow corn, our Original Black kernels are very small, and have a thin, light hull which disintegrates when popped. This means no more pesky hulls getting stuck in your teeth. They also create smaller, flakier pieces of popcorn with a slight crunch and a huge flavor.
Make sure to tell your local grocer to carry Black Jewell Original Black kernels. Once you’ve tasted the difference we’re sure you won’t be able to go back to the typical, boring yellow corn you’re used to.