Posted by: carlbrannen | September 14, 2008

A Tasty Ethanol Accident: GladCorn

I dropped by the Big-R ranch supply store in Moses Lake to pick up some #10 wire to fix a Hyster Challenger 150 propane forklift, and while I was standing in line, saw a display for GladCorn, a snack food:

What caught my eye is the story behind the stuff:

It was a quiet night on our farm. Stan was in the kitchen, working on a new ethanol fuel recipe. Gladys was catching up on some reading. Stan stepped into the living room for a moment while a batch heated up on the stove. Suddenly, KABOOM! Stan and Gladys came running. There was exploded corn all over the kitchen! Being the inquisitive type, Stan was more interested in tasting the stuff than cleaning up or explaining to Gladys – though by now she had gotten somewhat used to this sort of thing. While it didn’t look like much, he discovered that it was about the best tasting stuff he’d ever eaten!

Of course I noticed the word “ethanol” so I had to buy a bag of the treat (4oz for $1.69 for 4 oz). It’s made from yellow field, or dent corn, rather than popcorn, plus soybean oil and salt. About halfway between popcorn and “Corn Nuts” both in size and in the degree of fluffiness. And the yellow color distinguishes it from popcorn.

The primary use for field corn is animal feed. The secondary use is ethanol, and I guess the third use is to make corn starch and corn syrup. I chose the “gourmet cheddar” flavor.

So how’s it taste?

Oh it’s good all right. Let’s see if I can describe it. It’s meatier than popcorn, without all that air in it. It feels good between the teeth. As far as texture, it’s like those popcorn kernels that didn’t quite explode as much as they should; you know, the ones that are cooked enough but expanded enough that they are quite edible, but wouldn’t cut it in the popcorn world. Somewhat less brittle and hard than Corn Nuts. And there’s a slight sweet flavor to it that must come from all the starch in that dent corn.

The flavor I tried, “Gourmet Cheddar” was pretty subtle, unlike the flavoring in corn nuts which almost overwhelms that of the corn. Here, most of the flavor is corn. Quite good. I’ll try the other flavors as I visit Big R, the only place where I’ve seen this for sale.

I should write a post on the Big-R. Their huge building is packed with interesting things that are hard to get elsewhere and surprise and amaze me. Like “Farmopoly”, Children’s lariats, cowboy boots for little girls, horse “tack” , and equipment to remove testicles (ouch). I didn’t realize just how much of a city slicker I was before I walked the first time through the Big-R. I shop there because it makes me feel good to know that the place exists.

Special Applications

So, what is GladCorn good for besides a quick snack? Well, I bet that if I grind it up a little, it will look just like Dried Distiller’s Grains. I’ll put it in a little glass sample jar. The next time visiting royalty comes out to see our facility, I’ll stuff a handful in my mouth and go on about what a great breakfast cereal it would make; “giving DDGs to animals is wasting it”. In fact, DDGs are already added to some breakfast cereal; it gives a sort of yeasty or bread-like flavor, and it tends to darken the color a bit.

An alternative would be to secrete some in a pocket, and then, when giving a tour of our grain elevator, point out the 4-year-old dent corn still piled up in corners of the place (where it has fed a host of pigeons and, subsequently, various pigeon eaters), and say that our elevator is so well built that the corn in it is still good to eat, and has become tastier due to the aging process (despite the fact that everything in the buildin is covered in pigeon poop). This could be almost as much fun as getting visiting dignitaries up on top of the building and then warning them not to step on the rusty parts of the catwalks.



  1. great story, it was emailed to me, made me want to try some of the snacks as well as stop by the store. next time I am in the area I just might!

  2. It is also sold in the bulk foods departments of some Whole Foods Markets. It’s only $1.69 a pound at mine and a pound will keep you snacking for a while.

  3. I’d really love to tell you how to make this wonderful stuff at home for almost nothing…say, 50 lbs of this wonderful corn snack for around 5 bucks…but sorry…I promised the Glad Corn people I wouldn’t give away their ‘secret’…lol πŸ™‚

    btw…that’s only 10 cents a pound, instead of 1.69 a pound…or 5.59 a pound at another store…they’re making a killer profit on that product! πŸ™‚

    • let me have the recipe!

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