Don’t Toss Unpopped Pop Corn Kernels, Grind Them

I’m always looking for money saving tips, but this 1918 Dollar Stretcher tip is too much for me.

Pop-corn grains which will not “pop” may be ground fine and used with corn meal in making corn bread.

Ladies Home Journal (January, 1918)

40 thoughts on “Don’t Toss Unpopped Pop Corn Kernels, Grind Them

    1. Grain conservation during World War One, most likely.

      It’s a forgotten aspect of the Great War, but grain supplies were so short that the Government was doing everything it could, short of rationing, to encourage savings. There were, for example, “Wheatless Days”, which went along with Meatless Days and Porkless Days. People were urged to switch to oats in order to save on other grains.

  1. While I would just a soon feed the birds or chickens with leftovers, I know that times were hard for some back then… here I thought washing bread bags out to put our sandwiches in for school was tough.

    1. Your comment reminds me my childhood. My mother used to always wash bread bags out so that they could be repurposed. There were always one or two drying on a rack in the kitchen.

    1. That’s what I thought, too. I wonder it they had more trouble with having popcorn that didn’t pop very well back then what we generally do now.

    1. Some magazines did. I know that Farm Journal always had a lot. Ladies Home Journal had several different columns that readers could submit items to, but they were focused on specific topics (for example recipes or “Dollar Stretchers”).

    1. Assuming that this was considered a reasonable tip a hundred years ago, I can’t begin to imagine how tight money must have been in some households. That said, the readers would have had enough money to purchase Ladies Home Journal.

        1. Now that’s a thought. Maybe a coffee grounder could be used to grind the kernels – though I’m with you. I don’t have the time (or the energy) to grind my own corn meal from unpopped kernels.

          1. The thing is, though, now that I know itโ€™s possible, I sort of feel like I should try it. But…I have a better idea. I know people that have a gourmet popcorn shop. Itโ€™s probably one of those things like a wood chipper, the amount of wood it takes to make a decent amount of mulch is crazy.

    1. That’s what I thought, too. It seems like an awfully lot of effort would be required to grind up a few unpopped corn kernels to get a tiny bit of corn meal.

  2. I suppose it would depend on how many kernels you had lying around. I wonder if a lower percentage of kernels popped, back in the day? If even ten percent didn’t pop, there might be a lot of kernels left. At twenty percent, I’d start thinking about it. My mother said they often had popcorn for supper during the Depression. That could add to the number of kernels, too.

    1. I also thought that a lower percentage of kernels must have popped back then. My grandfather used to raise a little popcorn in his garden. I have vague memories of him hanging it to dry – and also of him saying something about the need to keep it from getting too dry because if it dried out too much it won’t pop.

      It’s interesting that people ate popcorn at meals during the Depression.

  3. I’m tuned in to what your other commenters have said about an era when no food went to waste. I must have lived one of my previous lives in the Great Depression, though, because I’ve got a serious do-not-waste-food streak running through me. I could see myself doing this. Plus, I have a feeling that the flavor is probably good.

    1. I like how you are thinking about this. The ground unpopped kernels probably would add an interesting roasted flavor to corn meal. I can’t see myself doing this, but now I’m intrigued.

  4. Wasting food is one of my real pet peeves, and yet it is an indication of how easy we have it in some ways in the 21st century that I can’t quite see myself doing this.

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