How To Store Popcorn

The Kernel

Freshly popped popcorn is the best snack for any occasion; no one in their right mind would pass up this delicious, fluffy, and crunchy goodness! However, if you have leftover popcorn, you might be wondering; How can I keep the popcorn fresh?

We’re glad you asked because we’re here to tell you what you need to know about keeping your popcorn from going stale!

After all, we’ve all been guilty of tossing out soggy, chewy popcorn. So, instead of throwing it away, we figured we should learn how to store popcorn properly, including using airtight containers, keeping it out of the sunlight, and other important storage tips. All in all, this decision saves you from wasting food and you get to enjoy the popcorn later, too!

It may seem difficult at first, specifically if you don’t spend much time in the kitchen, but don’t worry; correctly storing popcorn and keeping it fresh is pretty straightforward. It does, however, involve a few tips and tricks.

How Long Is Popcorn Good For?

The longevity of your popcorn is determined by several factors related to the product you purchase. Popcorn has a storage life ranging from a few days for popped varieties to almost a year for kernels – and even then, you can make it last way longer with proper storage techniques.

Still, we’re talking about popped popcorn here, so the shelf life peaks at two weeks. It can, however, get mushy within hours of being popped. As a result, it’s critical to preserve it correctly to avoid spoiling.

If you want to keep kernels fresh and usable for a longer timer, go for dry, simple ones that you can flavor with oils or butter when popping. Microwaveable kernels don’t last as long as dry kernels, so get your regular popcorn fix with a container of dry kernels instead. 

And remember! Don’t buy a huge bag at once if you don’t go through a lot of popcorn and don’t have a big enough container to store it in.

So, how you store your popcorn determines how long it stays fresh. Keep the popcorn package in a cool, dry area if you haven’t opened it yet. A vacuum seal works great for a bag of kernels

Storing Homemade Popcorn

Well, the first step is obviously making the popcorn. Do it as you typically would, but without any seasoning. If you add butter, salt, or any other similar flavoring, your popcorn can become soggy after a while, making it impossible to store.

Once popped, allow the popcorn to cool. If hot popcorn is put into a container directly, moisture will be trapped alongside it, making your popcorn a soggy mess when you open the package next time. Who wants soggy popcorn? Definitely not us!

Once the popcorn has cooled entirely, it’s time to move it to an airtight glass or plastic container. We recommend using a container that is just large enough to fill to capacity, since popcorn goes stale faster if you use a very large container, as there is more room left for air and moisture.

If you followed the steps (and didn’t season it!), keep the popcorn at room temperature. You can expect to have edible and delicious popcorn for up to two weeks if you store it at room temperature, in an airtight container, and in a dry and dark area, like the kitchen cupboard or pantry. This is because exposure to light may cause your popcorn to dry out over time.

When you’re ready to consume it, simply toss the popcorn with melted butter, salt, or any other seasoning.

Storing Store-Bought Popcorn

In this case, we’re assuming you have leftover shop-bought popcorn that you need to keep – though, to be fair, who doesn’t? For this, the storage procedure would be similar to that of handmade popcorn. However, you should check the popcorn’s container every few days to determine if it’s still fresh. Because store-bought popcorn is already flavored, it may turn soggy after a few days.

Storing Uncooked Popcorn

This part of the process is much easier than popped popcorn! You only have to follow a few easy steps without having to worry about the issues that come with popped popcorn. 

Still, remember to be careful while handling kernels, because some limitations still apply.

  • Take the kernels out from the packaging.
  • Place the package’s contents in an airtight container.
  • Microwave-ready bags can also be used for quick microwave cooking.
  • When you close the container, be sure there is minimum air within.
  • Place the container in a dark, dry location, such as your pantry or kitchen cupboard.
  • Avoid storing unpopped kernels in the refrigerator since the cold will cause them to dry out.

Can You Freeze Popcorn?

While popcorn should never be stored in the refrigerator, freezing it may make it last longer than it would in an airtight container. ollow these steps to freeze your popcorn:

  • Fill an airtight, freezer-safe container with popcorn. Put a couple of layers of plastic wrap between the lid and the popcorn.
  • Wrap the container in freezer-safe plastic or foil and place it on a flat surface in the freezer.
  • Remove the popcorn from the freezer when you’re ready to consume it and start munching!
  • Any toppings, like peanut butter or caramel, will most likely be solidly frozen. To avoid damaging your teeth, proceed with caution.

You can also take the frozen popcorn as a separate delicacy entirely, which makes it all the more interesting. We dare you to try it out and see how much to like it!

It’s also worth noting that, while freezing popped popcorn is a great way to keep it fresh, you shouldn’t freeze unpopped kernels because it may hinder their ability to pop properly. You don’t want to refreeze your popped popcorn once you take it out of the freezer since it will lose its quality and taste.

Tips for Helping Popcorn Stay Fresh Longer

Don’t throw away any leftover popcorn. You can enjoy this delightful snack again and again if you store your popcorn properly. Here are a few final tips for storing your snacks:

  1. Store Out of Direct Sunlight

Popcorn should not be stored in or near direct sunlight. Because this snack is made from a type of maize, it reacts to environmental factors such as light and humidity. When left in the sun, even airtight containers might become too warm inside, interfering with your popcorn storage.

Furthermore, many toppings, such as chocolate and caramel drizzles, can quickly melt in the sun, causing your popcorn to cling together and soften inside the container.

  1. Store the Popcorn or Kernels at Room Temperature

14% is the ideal moisture level that a kernel needs to pop properly. 

Always let a fresh package of warm popped popcorn cool to room temperature before storing it in a container. If not, the container will trap the warm popcorn with its own steam, causing it to lose freshness and stale faster due to the additional moisture.

If you want your fresh popcorn to cool faster before storing it, spread it out on a baking tray evenly and put them in a cold, dark spot until it’s ready. Still, make sure to stay away from the refrigerator because the fridge just makes it dry out more quickly.

  1. Use an Airtight Container

The more airtight the storage container is, the better. After all, if left exposed, popcorn will lose its natural moisture and become dry and stale. Cover the top of your container in a layer of plastic wrap before putting it on the lid. This ensures the seal is even stronger. 

You can put your container in your cupboard or pantry after securing the top until you’re ready to munch again.

Best Containers for Popcorn Storage

We’ve mentioned this above as well, but the best way to keep popped popcorn is in an airtight container – but which one? 

  • Freshness is best maintained in popcorn tins and plastic and glass storage containers with sealable lids. 
  • If you want to freeze your remaining popcorn, choose freezer-safe containers. Look for a snowflake emblem at the bottom of most containers to determine this. 
  • Ensure that the container you choose has a fully sealable, airtight lid.

Secondly, some containers have a labeling portion where you can name and date the contents. If yours doesn’t have one, write the date on a piece of tape and stick it to the container, so you’ll know how long it’s been in the freezer or pantry when it’s time to take it out.

Conclusion 

Popcorn, especially popped popcorn, doesn’t have a long shelf-life; it won’t stay fresh for more than a few days. However, if you store it properly, you can have fresh popcorn for up to two weeks. Sounds like a whole lot of delicious fun, doesn’t it?

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