Definition: Popcorn varieties from cultivars that were grown prior to hybridization and commercialization of popcorn crops. Some heirloom popcorn breeds are hundreds, if not thousands of years old. Unlike commercial popcorn, which has been bred for size and has lost much of its inherent flavor, heirloom popcorn varieties are prized for their varied kernel size, crisp texture, delicate hulls, and true corn flavor. Heirloom popcorn kernels also come in a wide range of beautiful colors, though once popped, the corn itself is white or yellow.
How to Make Popcorn on the Stove:
Where to Buy Heirloom Popcorn:
Crown Jewel Gourmet Popcorn sells 14 different varieties of heirloom popcorn, available individually or in sampler packs. Price: Varies; from $4.75 for 2 pounds of popcorn to $62.95 for a Whirley Popper and 14 1-pound bags of popcorn. Buy online at crownjewelgourmet.com.
Boulder Popcorn offers 3 heirloom varieties, plus the Mayor's Mix, a combination of its red, yellow, and blue kernels. Price: $4.95/1.5-pound bag; $44.95 for a Starter Pack with a Whirley Popper plus 3 1.5-pound bags of popcorn. Buy online at boulderpopcorn.com
- 479° Popcorn's Popcorn That Gives Back is a mix of Shaman Blue, Yellow Topaz, Dakota Black, and White Diamond heirloom popcorn kernels. 100% of proceeds support Urban Sprouts, a non-profit that plants edible school gardens to promote nutrition and science education. Price: $14/32 ounces. Buy online at 479popcorn.com.