Popcorn Shoots – Syrup Trails

PopcornA couple of weeks back I seeded three trays with corn seeds in some soil and 12 days later these beautiful green shoots showed up and I have been enjoying these fellas in salad mixes, as tasty dinner decorations and I have bottled up some to try out as cocktail syrups (more on that later!).

Popcorn shoot is probably a bit unorthodox to grow as microgreens, but I fell in love with the idea of testing it out after I found a video on the Youtube channel “On The Grow” about them and how they grew them in their trailer-garden.

While their yellow versions are a result of a longer “blackout” period where the sprouts are covered up and only get minimal light for a longer period of time, mine only got about 24 hours under the cover so they turned out a lot greener: It’s hard to tell from the above photograph, but they have a very bright green color. Next go-around I’m going to test if I can get that funky yellow color going one tray or two and see how it changes the taste on these guys.

Chipotle Fried Beef resting on a popcorn shoot bed. The strong, smokey chipotle flavor complements the sweet corn microgreen!

How does it taste? I never quite understood why maize is part of the grass-family until I ate them as microgreens. The distinct grassy and lightly acidic taste reminds me of how fresh cut grass smells like and the after taste has a sweet roundness to it. A touch too sweet for some of the family’s taste buds. The three trays of corn gave me plenty of material to experiment with the popcorn shoots and I found that they went very well with different kinds of stakes (especially if they were very spicy, then the popcorn shoots gave them another taste-dimension to them) and very well in tacos.

Chili and these microgreens where very good friends on the dinner plates I tested out. A big bonus is that the popcorn “straws” have a pleasant look to them and can be used as decorations – I’m sure more creative chefs could make some really interesting stuff with them.

Lots of Sugar and unique taste – Cocktail ingredient? 

Syrup tests popcorn
Chopped and unchopped tests of the shoots in simple syrup to see how they work out in cocktail recipes.

I’m not that far into my experimenting with the popcorn shoots as a flavor to cocktail syrups, but so far so good. I’ve tested three different varieties so far: One in water and two in simple syrups (one chopped up and one with just the whole leaves stuck into the bottle).

So far I like the chopped up version the best (in a 2 parts water, 1 parts sugar syrup) because it gives more of that grassy taste and a nice, clean hint of green to the syrup. I want to try out a few more versions before I settle in on a specific one and start testing out different long drinks to go with the new concoction. I have a feeling there is a great vodka or gin drink just waiting to be discovered out there!

Do you have any tips on cocktails? Let me know!


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