Popcorn Kernel Expiration: How Long Do They Last?


Popcorn kernel expiration is a common concern for those who are buying in bulk. This is especially true for the distribution centers and brokers that rely on these purchases to supply their chosen networks. While the assistance of an experienced bulk popcorn kernel provider is vital, the more that these clients know, the better their chances of achieving their desired goals.

By learning more about how long these kernels will last, the aforementioned clientele is able to plan for the future more easily. Of course, these companies are likely to make a common assumption. “Aren’t they just dry kernels? How is there even a possibility of them going bad?”

These are good questions to ask but they do not tell the whole story. Here’s everything that prospective clients will need to know about the expiration status of the popcorn kernels that they are purchasing.

Do Popcorn Kernels Ever Expire?

As it turns out, there are a variety of factors that play into whether popcorn kernels will expire or not. In most instances, loose kernels that are kept inside of a container will be able to last for at least a year. Meanwhile, popcorn kernel bags will last anywhere from six to eight months. The remainder of this guide is designed to keep it simple so that the proper decisions can be made.

Kernel Maintenance

Kernels are obviously going to have a different shelf life, as compared to popped popcorn or microwave popcorn. These dried kernels are often distributed in bulk to make popcorn and other products. This puts the onus on these distribution centers and brokers to make the right choices. As long as the kernels have not been cooked, popped, buttered, or salted, they will last much longer than popped popcorn and microwave popcorn can.

Uncooked and raw product always has a longer shelf life. Some companies will also freeze their unpopped kernels, as a means of ensuring long-term freshness. This brings us to the most obvious question of all….

Do These Kernels Ever Expire?

The short answer to this question is a resounding no. While there are additional questions to be asked about just how long they will last, this provides bulk buyers with the peace of mind that they need most. There is going to be a best-by date printed on the packaging but that does not mean that this is a strict deadline that must be adhered to. This is not meant to serve as an expiration date.

Growing Popcorn

What’s The Actual Expiration Date?

The popcorn kernels that are used on the stove or in a popcorn machine are by far the easiest to preserve. While these kernels will essentially last for an indefinite period of time, that does not mean that they are still going to taste the same once it comes time to prepare it. So how can these kernels be preserved? What steps need to be taken to ensure maximum tastiness once the kernels are being prepared?

It all starts with proper storage. The manner in which the kernels are stored will go a long way towards determining the level of long-term freshness. A cool and dry storage area is best. The packaging must also remain airtight and unopened packaging from a bulk distributor is fine. Make sure that there are no holes, though.

Some may also decide to double up on their airtight containers for an added level of protection. The air causes staleness and it is important to avoid as much exposure as possible. Those who live in a humid climate will want to do everything in their power to put a stop to anything that will reduce their kernels’ shelf life. As a ballpark figure, one to two years works as a timeline for expiration. If the kernels are able to last beyond this time frame without becoming stale or dried out, this is a testament to the quality of storage.

Contact Shumway Popcorn Farms Today

Looking for popcorn kernels that are fresh off the farm? Call us at Shumway Farms today for the freshest white, mushroom and butterfly popcorn kernels in Michigan!

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