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.


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