Microwave popcorn is a beloved snack due to its ease of preparation and variety of flavors.
Microwave popcorn, like many foods, can go bad after its expiration date. While you can still consume popcorn that has passed its shelf-life, it may be stale or dry.
The Shelf Life Of Popcorn
Popcorn is one of those snacks we can easily have a bowl of when we’re craving something salty, buttery or gourmet. But it’s never guaranteed how long your popcorn will last after purchase.
Storing popcorn properly is key to ensure it stays fresh for as long as possible. Depending on the variety, popped corn should typically remain good for several days or weeks after opening.
Dry kernels can remain fresh if stored correctly, though they won’t spoil after their best-by date on the package. However, over time the quality may start to deteriorate.
Ready-to-eat popcorn (also referred to as commercially popped) has a similar shelf life as dry kernels. It will remain tasty for several months past its best by date, though flavor and moisture levels will begin to wane.
Microwave popcorn, however, has a shorter shelf life and will start to lose moisture and flavor over time. Furthermore, the fat used in microwavable popcorn may go rancid, leading to an unhealthy side effect.
How Long Does Microwave Popcorn Last After It Expires?
Microwave popcorn doesn’t last as long as plain kernels, but it can still be enjoyed after its expiration date. Just be sure to check the label first since oil and seasonings often go rancid after some period of time.
Microwave popcorn with a best-by date can remain fresh up to two months after that date, though you should discard it if the smell or taste doesn’t match what was promised after that period.
Dry kernels can remain fresh after their expiration date, but their quality and taste begin to deteriorate. That is why it is essential to store them in an airtight container or jar; this will help maintain freshness and ensure quality throughout storage.
Can You Eat Expired Microwave Popcorn?
While it is true that microwave popcorn may go rancid due to exposure, this does not necessarily lead to any health risks if you eat a small amount. If the smell or taste of your popcorn has changed, then it’s time for you to throw it out and start fresh.
To prevent this, always store your popcorn in a cool, dry place and don’t allow it to become too moist. This is especially crucial if you have salted or added butter to your microwave popcorn.
How To Know If Microwave Popcorn Has Spoilt?
If your microwave popcorn has gone bad, this means the oils and butters inside have started to go rancid. This can result in an unpleasant odor when opened and uneven popping when popped.
How do you tell if your microwave popcorn has gone bad? Simply inspect its texture and taste; stale popcorn will have less fluffiness, along with less crunch.
It’s also wise to inspect if the popcorn you use has any mold on it, as this indicates moisture has seeped into its package or container. That is why it should always be stored in a dry, dark place away from heat sources and direct sunlight.
If you’re wondering how long your popcorn can stay fresh, the good news is that both popped and dried kernels retain quality even months or years after their expiration dates on the package. Storing them in a pantry or kitchen cabinet with a seal helps preserve their flavor until consumption.
How To Revive Popcorn That Has Dried Out?
If your microwave popcorn has become dry and crumbly, there are several ways to revive it. The first method involves placing the stale popcorn into an oven and heating it briefly; this should restore its crunchiness and restore your popcorn back to its original crisp state.
Another way to revive dry popcorn is by rehydrating the kernels. This process works similarly to rehydrating fresh corn, except you need to add water to the dry kernels for additional hydration.
Most popcorn can be rehydrated by adding just enough water to make it pop again. If necessary, use a hygrometer or moisture meter to measure how much water the kernels have retained in their center.
Once the kernels have absorbed enough water, store them in a container for several days. Shake the jar periodically to distribute water evenly among all kernels.
Once more, test the kernels to see if they can pop again. Otherwise, use more water and try again.
Best Way to Store Microwave Popcorn
If you’re making popcorn at home, the best way to keep it fresh is by storing it in an airtight container. This could be a dark, clear or plastic container which should be placed away from direct sunlight in either a cupboard or on your counter. Doing this will help ensure the freshness of your snack for longer.
Microwave popcorn has a shorter shelf life than unpopped due to the oils and additives used during preparation. If stored correctly, however, you can enjoy your tasty treat days or weeks after it’s been made.
One way to ensure microwave popcorn stays fresh is to store it in the freezer. Doing this prevents moisture from getting into the air, which could otherwise spoil it quickly.
America’s Favorite Popcorn suggests freezing popped popcorn to prevent it from going stale and keep it edible for up to three months. To ensure freshness, seal and label the bag before eating.
Unpopped corn kernels can be stored at room temperature for up to one year, provided they are properly sealed in a bag and kept away from heat and light. For maximum shelf life, opt for dry plain popcorn kernels without flavoring oil or butter coating so that they remain unflavored.
Microwave popcorn is not immune to environmental elements, and even with proper storage in your pantry it can go bad quickly. Even the best-tasting microwave popcorn may become rancid if left sitting around too long or eaten too quickly.
As a general guideline, most foods–including microwave popcorn–can be kept for up to two months after their expiration date. To save money and prevent food waste, only purchase what you will consume within that timeframe.
To determine if your popcorn is still fresh, pop it and inspect for yourself. If the kernels appear mushy or dry, simply replace them with more fresh kernels.