Popcorn Kernels not popping. Any suggestions to make them pop?

A few would pop, but they take forever. I know it probably has something to do with the moisture in the kernels not being enough so is there a way to add moisture back into the kernels to get them to pop again?



TheAlmondAddict September 28, 2019
This is the previous day's results (1/2 tbsp water + 1 1/2 cups kernel, rest 2 days in air tight container)
TheAlmondAddict September 28, 2019

I've been trying out different methods as I have a lot of kernels and I'm getting more into science experiments. I wasn't super exact on my controls or measurements but here's what I got:

Soaking for 10 minutes then draining: Did nothing. I found the kernels may have held onto too much moisture and still felt moist to the touch when I put them in a pot with some oil. I even let them sit for a day and popped it the next day and nothing happened.

Steaming for 10 minutes: some had popped (maybe about a 1/4 of the kernels?)

1/2 tbsp water + 1 1/2 cups kernels in air tight jar, 2 day rest: very little popped (violently) but mostly none
^^ + 1 tsp water, transferred to more shallow air tight container, 1 day rest: the 3 kernel testers popped after a while, on low heat none of the kernels popped even though the oil was hot enough. Once I turned up the heat to medium, all of a sudden every single kernel popped (sans 1 that didn't pop at all-pic is attached). popcorn tasted fine
method found here: https://www.usaemergencysupply.com/information-center/all-about/all-about-whole-grains/all-about-popcorn

*NOTE: The previous "failed" methods may have not worked because I didn't have the heat high enough (can't remember if I put it on low/low medium/medium but I think I did play around with it). Like I said, I wasn't exact with my measurements and controls (I wasn't planning on this to be an ongoing experiment) but these are the results I got. I got pretty excited when I saw all these kernels finally popping :)
TheAlmondAddict October 3, 2019
I've found that the soaking/draining/resting method did work once I turned the heat on high. They eventually all popped but some methods needed more heat and time than others.
boulangere September 22, 2019
I'm guessing it is old and dried out. Which sounds counterintuitive, since popcorn appears pretty dry. However, what causes it to pop is the rapid expansion of moisture inside the kernel. That said, nothing lasts forever, so when you discard what you have (the bad news) and buy a new batch, transfer it to a glass jar with a tight lid and place a piece bread inside the jar. Replace the bread each time you make a batch of popcorn, which should probably be relatively often (the good news).
TheAlmondAddict September 23, 2019
Interesting. Is the purpose of the bread to transfer the moisture to the kernels to prevent from drying as quickly?
boulangere September 24, 2019
Exactly. It also works for brown sugar.
grandrivergirl September 22, 2019
I read something once about soaking them in cold water and then draining and drying them before popping.
Did not try this as popcorn is so cheap we prefer to just buy new.
TheAlmondAddict September 23, 2019
Good point. It might be easier to just buy a new batch. I was just curious to see if I can magically get them to pop again 😁.
Recommended by Food52