With several days off from work, Rich and I decided to load up the RV and spend a few days camping over Christmas. I mentioned this idea to a coworker who offhandedly commented, “Are you going to decorate a tree?”
She was thinking colored Christmas lights and ornaments. I instantly imagined strings of popcorn and cranberries. Then it occurred to me that it would take a long time (not to mention patience) to threads yards of popcorn. I could cheat, however, and create balls of popcorn to hang on the trees. An idea was hatched. A little digging around on the Internet yielded this wonderful recipe:
- Using an air popper, create 12 cups of popcorn. Place in a large bowl.
- Bring 1 cup of light corn syrup and ½ cup of granulated sugar to a boil.
- Add a packet of Knox plain gelatin. The gelatin will clump together so continuing boiling and mixing until the gelatin melts.
- Add 1½ to 2 cups of wild birdseed and stir.
- Pour the sugar/bird seed mixture over the popcorn and mix. I used my hands
- Cut 10-12 lengths of natural twine (sisal)
- Place a sheet of wax or parchment paper on your work area
- Pour some vegetable oil into a saucer
- Moisten your hands with the oil then scoop up two handfuls of the popcorn mixture. Lightly squish the mixture together then place a piece of twine down the length of the ball. Add another handful of popcorn mixture so the twine is in the middle of a tennis-ball sized ball. Squish the ball to compress the twine in the middle. Place on thee wax or parchment paper.
- The popcorn mixture get gelatinous as it cools so don’t worry if your popcorn balls aren’t initially holding together.
- Quickly make 10-12 popcorn balls, dipping your hands in the oil to help keep the popcorn from sticking to your hands. The popcorn balls harden as they cool so periodically squish them together until they’re tightly compressed and the twine won’t come out.
- Hang outside for birds, squirrels and other critters to eat!