Friday, April 10, 2015

when popcorn won't pop

There's nothing more disappointing than popcorn that won't pop.

Well actually, flopped cakes, a rained-out wedding, a lie-to-your-face child, receiving an order of expensive shoes that don't fit, planning a Netflix night only to have the internet go out, putting sour half-and-half into your coffee, etc, etc, probably all qualify as more disappointing. All things considered, non-poppy popcorn is rather minor. Still, in the moment it can feel rather crushing. 

Because we buy our popcorn by the truckload (practically), we were rather miffed when, a couple months into a fresh sack, we started making dud-corn instead of popcorn. We figured the seller stored the popcorn in a damp place. Or maybe he never dried it properly in the first place?

After stewing a bit, my husband hopped on the Internet to research the problem. And guess what! The reason is the exact opposite of what we both thought. Popcorn doesn't pop, not because it's too wet, but because it's too dry. The popcorn's pop is caused by moisture inside the kernel heating up and creating steam. When there's not enough moisture, there's not a good pop.

The solution, we were delighted to discover, was easy. We put the dud-corn in a jar, added a bit of water, let it sit for a day or so to absorb the moisture, and voila, the freshest, poppy-est popcorn you could ever wish for!

How To Rejuvenate Popcorn Kernels

1. Put the not-doing-their-thing popcorn kernels in a jar.

2. For every cup of kernels, add one teaspoon of water.

3. Lid the jar, shake well, and let sit for 1-3 days. (It's advised to let the kernels sit for three days, but we waited just one and they were perfect.)

For a longer shelf life, store the rejuvenated popcorn in the freezer. (But if, like me, your popcorn never quite makes it into the freezer, no worries. You now know the remedy.)

This same time, years previous: the greening, an evening walk, the things that go on around here, new territory: grief, and cream of tomato soup.


  1. Thank you for this information! I am excited to try it.

  2. R always puts some water in her kernels and keeps the jar in the fridge. I never bother, but I'm so pleased to hear the night-and-day difference this makes!!!

  3. Thanks very much, yes we too made our conclusion same as you peple did :) it was amusing how we all ar alike in some way :) thanks again.

  4. I actually love the partially popped corn, it tastes the best. I came here to find out how to NOT pop it all the way, but only about a third of the way. Nice article though.

  5. Thank you! I was desperate after having a whole bag of popcorn not pop at all. This was real helpful!

    1. thank you for the info, getting really frustrated when even the new bag wouldn't pop but turn brown. I will try this.

  6. Thank Gd ! Thanks :) nicely written as well.

  7. Thank you, I thought my instant pot wasn't getting hot enough so can't wait to try this!

  8. I tired this but it didn't work for me

  9. thank you it this helped me with my science project