Tips for Storing Popcorn Kernels
PUBLISHED: Monday, December 28, 2020

Tips for Storing Popcorn Kernels 

Popcorn is a delicious, convenient snack (and sometimes meal). Very few people would argue with that sentiment. But popcorn kernels are, without putting too fine a point on it, a wonder in the culinary world—and it’s mostly an issue of shelf life. Kernels that are sealed and stored in a relatively cool, dark environment like a pantry or food cellar will easily remain useable for a decade. But even a container of kernels that’s opened and haphazardly stored in a kitchen cabinet can be popped for several years afterward. And, in a pinch, those kernels can be ground into a sort of cornflower and used as a substitute for (or additive to) wheat flour. We’ll look at a few tips and tricks for ideal short-term and long-term storage of popcorn kernels.

Short-Term Storage

As indicated, storing popcorn kernels in the short-term doesn’t require much special effort or care. The tough shell and semi-dehydrated nature of kernels means that they can be stored in the open and at room temperature for several years—at least two or three. Those of us that pop corn relatively frequently will probably use these smaller quantities of kernels well before their age becomes an issue. But even folks that only make popcorn once or twice a month will turn over their supply of kernels before any of them “go bad”—which, for a popcorn kernel, usually means that it’s lost too much moisture at the center to be able to pop. In other words, a kitchen cupboard works perfectly fine.

Long-Term Storage

Storing popcorn kernels long-term is not only possible, it’s fairly easy. Kernels that are purchased in sealed containers can, for all intents and purposes, be stored that way in a pantry or food cellar nearly indefinitely. Kernels that are purchased in bulk containers, though, can be broken down into smaller mylar bags or airtight plastic containers along with food safe desiccants and similarly stashed in a pantry or food cellar. Once again, kernels that are packaged this way can be stored nearly indefinitely and still be expected to pop or make fresh corn flour.

Shelf stability, along with size and weight concerns, is one of the reasons that many Americans choose to keep some amount of popcorn among their emergency food stores. If you have any questions or concerns about buying and storing bulk popcorn kernels, our experts are ready with answers.