Popcorn is a snack that is easy and cheap to make at home.
It’s also one of the most popular snacks in America.
If you’ve ever made popcorn at home, you may be wondering how long it lasts.
And for those who love to pop up some corn on movie night, you’ll want to know if your popcorn has spoiled or if it’s just time to throw out some old kernels.
How long does popcorn last?
The shelf life of popcorn varies depending on the brand, but most will stay fresh for about three weeks, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
If there is any kind of mold on the surface, however, you should toss it out immediately.
Does popcorn go bad?
Yes, popcorn can go bad.
However, as long as you don’t let it sit around too long or get exposed to moisture, you shouldn’t have any problems eating it.
According to the FDA, popcorn can spoil by bacteria, mold, or insect infestation.
You’re more likely to encounter these issues if you leave your popcorn in the bag, which might lead to an increase in the amount of moisture inside the bag.
This could result in the growth of mold or insects.
You can also run into trouble if you buy opened packages of popcorn that were sitting around for a while.
In this case, the product was probably exposed to moisture from the air, which could lead to the growth of bacteria or fungi.
How do you store popcorn?
To avoid spoiling your snack, keep it away from heat sources and other foods that could produce odors.
Store your popcorn in an airtight container with a lid and keep it in a cool place where temperatures won’t exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29.4 Celsius).
How do you know when popcorn is bad?
There are several ways you can tell whether your popcorn is spoiled.
First, check the packaging. Is it sealed tightly?
Does the package look dry or damp?
If so, you should discard it immediately.
Next, smell it.
If you notice an unpleasant odor coming from the popcorn, you should toss it out.
Moldy-looking kernels could also indicate that the popcorn has gone bad.
A white coating on the outside of the kernel usually means that the popcorn has been exposed to moisture.
Finally, taste it.
If you find that the popcorn tastes different than usual, it’s probably spoiled.
If the flavor is off, it could mean that the popcorn contains a chemical called acetic acid, which is produced when the popcorn dries out.
Acetic acid is used in some types of candy, but it isn’t pleasant when eaten straight.
What are the signs that popcorn is bad?
Here are a few of the common signs that your popcorn has spoiled:
- Discolored kernels.
- A foul odor.
- White spots on the outside of the kernels.
- Blackened kernels.
- Dry, hard kernels.
- An unusual texture.
If you see any of these signs, you should discard the popcorn immediately.
What happens if you eat bad popcorn?
Popping up some popcorn during a movie is fun, but eating it after it has gone bad could cause some serious health problems.
Here’s what you need to know about the dangers of consuming spoiled popcorn:
- It can contain harmful bacteria like E. coli.
- It could contain salmonella.
- It could contain listeria monocytogenes.
- It could contain Clostridium botulinum toxin.
- It could contain aflatoxins.
In addition to the above, there are also concerns regarding the consumption of raw popcorn kernels.
Is it safe to eat popcorn that has gone bad?
You should never eat stale popcorn.
But if you purchase popcorn that has already expired, you can consume it without worrying about getting sick.
How can you tell if popcorn is still good to eat?
To figure out if your popcorn is still edible, use the following methods:
- Taste it. If you detect no difference between the new kernels and the old ones, then they’re both fine to eat. However, if the popcorn tastes odd, it’s probably spoiled.
- Smell it. Check the popcorn to see if it smells normal. If it doesn’t, you should toss it out.
- Check the expiration date. If the popcorn is past its prime, it’s going to have an off-flavor and won’t taste right.
What do you do with popcorn that has gone bad?
If you’re concerned about the safety of your snack, you can always dispose of it safely.
To clean up your kitchen, follow these tips:
- Wash all utensils and surfaces thoroughly with soap and hot water before storing them again.
- Throw out any containers that aren’t airtight.
- Put the empty popcorn bags in the trash.
- Don’t reuse the same bag for future batches.
When you’re ready to start popping up some corn, here are some things to remember:
- Keep your popcorn in an airtight container.
- Store the kernels in the freezer if you plan on making multiple batches.
- Use only unopened boxes of popcorn.
- Never microwave popcorn.
For more information on the best way to enjoy popcorn, read our article on the best popcorn recipes and learn about the benefits of popcorn.
If you’d rather save money, you can try using dried popcorn instead of buying it fresh.
Dried popcorn is often cheaper than fresh, especially if you buy it in bulk.
While dried popcorn isn’t as tasty as fresh, it’s better than nothing!
Plus, you can add it to soups, salads, and even desserts.
How long does popcorn last?
Most brands of popcorn will stay fresh for about three weeks if you store them properly.
After that, the quality will begin to deteriorate quickly.
Once the popcorn starts to lose its crunch, it’s time to toss it out.
If you want to extend the shelf life of your popcorn, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Alternatively, you can freeze your popcorn until you’re ready to pop it up again.
Can you salvage popcorn that has gone bad?
If you’ve purchased the wrong type of popcorn, you can still eat it.
Just make sure you follow the instructions on the box.
If the popcorn is meant to be popped in a microwave oven, don’t pop it in a conventional oven.
However, if you bought opened popcorn and it hasn’t been refrigerated, you should toss it out immediately.
Even though it’s past its prime, it’s still dangerous to eat because it could contain harmful bacteria or mold.
For more information on the best ways to prepare popcorn, check out our list of the best popcorn recipes.
Caramel Popcorn recipe
- 1 saucepan
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoons corn syrup
- Pinch of salt
- 4 cups popped popcorn
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt.
- Stir until smooth.
- Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- Add the vanilla and pour into a bowl or resealable plastic bag.
- Pour in the popcorn and stir well.
- Add more popcorn as necessary to create a thin layer that will hold up when cooled.
- Place the popcorn in an air-tight container and refrigerate overnight if possible.
- If not, store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauces.