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Oct 24, 2012 12:53 PM

Does Popcorn Get Stale In Jars?

There are several jars of Orville Redenbacher in the back of a cabinet that must be at least four years old, plus a couple of grocery store brand in plastic bags. I've never had any of my own sit around for that long and was wondering if anyone else had experience with this?

I thought it'd be a nice switch up to bring freshly made caramel corn to holiday gatherings.....

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  1. Popcorn relies on a certain percentage of moisture (about 13 - 14%) trapped in its kernels to perform at its best. As long as your popcorn has been kept in an airtight container it should be fine.
    Avoid refrigeration or freezing as it tends to dry out popcorn over time and, although you should store it in a cool dry environment, you don't want it to become too cool or the environment to be too dry.

    1 Reply
    1. re: todao

      Thanks! I'm guessing the kernels in the jars are probably more viable than the ones in plastic bags by this time, only one way to find out for sure.....:)

    2. Smell it. Old popcorn does go rancid.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sparrowgrass

        No discernible odors, too bad I can't say the same thing about my vegetable oil, it kind of smells like plastic.....:(

      2. Your post is very timely! Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks and I buy it in bulk online. As I have just jumped on the Mason jar obsession train, I have been wondering whether I could store the kernels in jars instead of in the bag in a Tupperware container.

        1. Once we open a jar of popcorn we store the remainder in the freezer. Unopened jars go in the pantry, bagged popcorn goes immediately into the freezer. Been doing this for 35+ years. WE love popcorn and it's sometimes our dinner.

          3 Replies
          1. re: LikestoEatout

            Oh wow, I'm glad to hear that this works as I was always told that popcorn in the freezer quickly loses moisture though can't remember the explanation.

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              CDouglas is correct about the moisture loss. it's a result of water migration - water will move to areas of lower concentration, so it leaves the center of the kernel and moves toward the dry environment of the freezer air. there's also the matter of expansion - when water freezes and ice crystals expand, they compromise the integrity of the cell walls...which in turn, can affect the way the kernels pop.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Thanks for that, I knew it was something like that but couldn't remember.

          2. Popcorn stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place will still pop well up to 5 years later. After that the moisture content can change resulting in an increase in old maids. You can try to rehydrate the kernels by sprinkling some water over the kernels, resealing the jar and shaking it up to distribute. Try popping them after a few days and you may have better results.

            The refrigerator and freezer will most likely have a less humid environment than your home which can result in moisture loss. Moisture loss = old maids.

            1 Reply
            1. re: CDouglas

              I always put popcorn in mason jars and store in my cupboard. It does well for a good while, but does eventually go rancid, especially in warmer temps. I've kept popcorn in the jars safely for a couple of years, without any rancidity.