How to Dry Popcorn Kernels

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Dry popcorn kernels properly so that you can store the kernels.
Dry popcorn kernels properly so that you can store the kernels. (Image: Popcorn image by Julie F from Fotolia.com)

Instead of purchasing popcorn from the store, you can grow your own popcorn at home and dry the kernels to have the snack on hand. Popcorn can take 120 day to fully mature, and then it needs to be dried so that only 13 to 14 percent of moisture exists. The popcorn will not pop properly if the moisture content remains too high or low. Once your popcorn is ready for harvesting, it needs to be left on the stalks as long as possible to allow the kernels to dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Mesh bags
  • Bowl
  • Airtight container
  • Roasting pan

Air Dry

Remove the ears from the stalk once the silk turns brown and the kernels are dry. Twist the ears off the stalk carefully.

Peel the husks off the ears. Tie three to four of the husks together or place them in mesh bags.

Hang the corn in a dark and cool location until they are dried. You also can spread them on a flat surface if you do not have room to hang them.

Hold the corn ears over a bowl and push the kernels off with your thumbs. Store them in an airtight glass jar.

Oven Dry

Remove the popcorn when the kernels are hard and dry. Peel the husks off, and discard them.

Heat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place the ears of corn on a roasting pan in a single layer.

Reduce the heat to 200 degrees. Place the roasting pan in the oven, and leave the door slightly ajar.

Allow the corn ears to dry for five hours. Remove the kernels by pushing them off with your thumbs. Store them in an airtight glass jar.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add 1 tbsp. of water to 1 qt. of popcorn if the kernels do not pop. Shake the kernels so that they absorb the water. The moisture content might be too low in the kernels.
  • Test the popcorn kernels to ensure that they are dry before storage. Pop them over high heat on the stove top, and if more than half of the kernels pop, then you can store them safely.
  • If the popcorn tastes chewy or the kernels appear jagged in shape when you pop them, you need to dry the kernels longer.

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