Reaching into your bowl of popcorn only to find soggy pieces. It’s the stuff of nightmares! Popcorn should be crispy and crunchy, not soft and chewy. If it does feel a little soft, then it’s probably time you said goodbye to that pack.
Fortunately, there are ways to maintain fluffy and crispy popcorn, even a few days after you open it. Keeping your popcorn fresh requires a particular set of skills and know-how. Okay, you don’t really need any skills. You just need to know where and how to store it properly to keep its moisture levels stable.
Whether you have a pack of sweet, salty, caramelized, cheesy, or simply plain popcorn, it is one of the best snack foods out there. When it’s not drenched in butter and salt, popcorn can be pretty good for you.
This whole grain is high in fiber as well as antioxidants such as polyphenols. Moreover, it’s gluten-free and vegan-friendly as long as you are careful with the ingredients and flavorings involved.
The last thing you want is to sit down in front of the TV and find your popcorn has gone off. That is why we are going to guide you through the different methods to keep your popcorn as fresh as possible, for as long as possible.
How Long Does Popcorn Stay Fresh?
How long your popcorn stays good depends on a few factors. Some popcorn products have a shelf life of just a few days after being popped while other kernels could last for almost a year.
If popcorn is pre-popped in small batches, it should last longer than buying a product that has been popped in a large batch from a few days or weeks before.
The longest-lasting kernels tend to be of the dry, plan variety. Although these do not taste of much, you can add different flavored oils or butter to make them more delicious. Just be warned that the popcorn will become unhealthier if you use such oils.
Kernels that are microwaveable do not last as long as dry products. Therefore, you should use a container to keep dry kernels in for a longer period to fill that popcorn void.
We do not recommend buying a big bag of popcorn for yourself in one go. That is unless you will be sharing it or you know you’ll gleefully eat most of it within a day. If you do purchase a big bag and have popcorn leftover, store it in a large container to keep it fresh for a few days.
A popcorn’s lifespan primarily depends on how it is stored. If you have an unopened container of popcorn, store it in a cool, dry space. If you couldn’t resist and have already opened a packet of popcorn, store the remaining kernels in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
If possible, try to use a vacuum-sealed container to store opened popcorn in. However, this may not work as well with popped varieties as their texture could be affected and become softer.
How To Store Popcorn To Keep It Fresher For Longer
You should store any unpopped kernels at room temperature. Whether they are dried corn kernels or microwave popcorn, storing the popcorn at room temperature is one of the most important factors when keeping it fresh.
It has been found that dried corn kernels have a 16 to 20 percent moisture level. As the water within the kernel gets heated, it will begin to expand and start its transformation from corn into popcorn.
Store your kernels in an airtight container to ensure they don’t dry up. You can also use a properly-sealed microwave-ready bag to store your popcorn at room temperature but try to find a space that is out of direct sunlight.
Store In The Freezer
Did you know that you can keep your popcorn in your freezer so your ice cream has some company? Well, now you do! Just like vodka, popcorn does not freeze. This may sound a bit strange but when you regulate the moisture levels of popped popcorn, it can remain edible for up to three months.
If you store popcorn in an area where the air is too dry, it can become very brittle. On the other hand, if the air is overly moist, the kernels can turn tougher and become more like cardboard.
For a longer shelf life, store your popcorn in the freezer using an air-tight, sealed bag or container. Best of all, when you are craving popcorn next, you can simply take the popcorn straight out and it’ll be ready to eat immediately.
When you have finished with the popcorn but there is still some left, you should wait until it has reached room temperature before storing again. This is because moisture can build up again and ruin the texture of the kernels.
Seal In Your Popcorn’s Freshness
You can store popcorn in a zipped bag for a short period to keep it fresh but, for a longer shelf life, we recommend using a glass or BPA-free container.
While this may not be as convenient, it is a more eco-friendly option compared to using plastic bags. Just make sure the container has a tightly-sealed lid so moisture levels can remain consistent.
To be extra sure of sealing in that freshness, you can apply a layer of plastic wrap over the top of the container before placing the lid on. Of course, this means using plastic but not as much.
Can Flavorings Affect The Freshness Of Popcorn?
We all love to experiment with different flavors of popcorn from caramelized versions to the cheesiest kernels possible. However, if you’re making a big batch of popcorn, we suggest that you keep the popcorn plain and free from any salt or liquid flavorings. This is because they can affect the lifespan of popcorn and its texture.
If you want to make some fluffy and crunchy popcorn, use salt-free seasonings such as oregano, paprika, or nutritional yeast, and then store them in a cool, dry place.
Popcorn is one of the most popular and tastiest snacks around. That is until it loses its freshness and goes all soft and soggy. But, if you store it correctly, you could have a batch ready to go whenever those cravings hit. Store popcorn in a cool, dry place inside a tightly sealed container for the longest shelf life possible and you will never have to experience soggy popcorn again!