Homegrown popcorn or cobs of fresh popcorn from a farm stand must be dried before you can store it or pop the kernels. Proper drying ensures the longest storage time and the best quality of popped corn. If the kernels contain too much moisture, they become prone to mold and mildew. You don't need special equipment to dry your own popcorn. Popcorn stores best when dried to 14 percent moisture content, which you can achieve by drying it properly in a warm room in your home.
Place two or three ears of popcorn in a mesh bag. Hang the bag in a warm, dry location where temperatures don't exceed 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dry the cobs for two to four weeks, or until the kernels become hard and shriveled. Press a kernel with your thumbnail. If your nail doesn't dent the kernel, it's fully dry.
Pull three to five kernels off the cob and pop them in an air popper or in a small amount of oil in a saucepan over high heat. If all the kernels pop and have a good texture when you eat them, the popcorn is ready to store. If the kernels pop poorly, dry them for an additional week, then test again.
Remove the popcorn from the cob. Rub two cobs against each other to dislodge a section of kernels, then use a metal spoon to pop the remaining kernels off the cob.
Place the dried kernels in an airtight glass storage container. Label the popcorn with the storage date and store it in a dark, dry area.
- Properly dried popcorn typically stores well for up to one year. If it becomes too dry during storage, it may fail to pop. Stir 1 tablespoon of water into a quart of kernels and allow them to rehydrate for three or four days before attempting to pop them again.
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