State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600285
Popcorn is left on the plant to mature and is ready to
harvest when husks are dry and the kernels hard. Pick
popcorn before frost, husk the ears, and place in a mesh
bag or old nylon stocking to cure. Curing takes 2 to 3
weeks and is done in a warm, dry, well ventilated area.
Once cured, shell it and store kernels in quart glass jars.
Fill the jars only 3/4 of the way. Seal the jars
and store them in the refrigerator. Unshelled corn may be
stored at temperatures near 32 degrees Fahrenheit in high
humidity. The ears must be protected from rodents.
Properly conditioned corn should pop in 80 to 90 seconds.
Poor popping may be due to low moisture content. The
ideal moisture content is 13-1/2 percent. To increase the
moisture content, add 1 tablespoon of water to the jar,
reseal the jar and shake it twice a day for 2 days, then
take out a sample to pop. If popping is still poor, add
more water. Two treatments should be all that are needed.
Too much moisture can cause poor popping. If too much
moisture is a problem, corn pops with a loud explosion, the
kernels will be jagged and tough, and steam comes from the
popper. Popcorn should last 3 to 4 years with proper