Popcorn is a nutritious and healthy snack that’s easy to prepare, and people of all ages love it. If you love popcorn and want to stock up the corn, you could either store it in a cupboard, refrigerator, or in the freezer. Now, you might wonder whether you can make popcorn from frozen kernels.
You can make popcorn from frozen popcorn kernels, but it might take a bit longer to pop. The popcorn produces more steam as you make it. In addition, if you don’t freeze the corn correctly and don’t adjust your cooking method slightly, the popcorn might not attain the normal crispiness.
This article will discuss whether you can make popcorn from frozen kernels. Let’s dive right in.
What Corn Makes Popcorn?
The corn that makes popcorn is unique corn specially grown for popping. It’s the only corn that pops, and there are different varieties of popcorn. The special corn has a hard outer covering (hull) that’s water-resistant. A tiny droplet of water inside each hull is the secret to the popping.
How Does Popcorn Pop?
A popcorn kernel has soft starch inside it, and a hard outer cover (hull) surrounds the soft starch. The soft starch has a bit of water inside it, and when you heat the popcorn kernels, this water expands and pressurizes the hull. The hull gives way when it can no longer withstand the pressure and the popcorn explodes.
Popcorn pops when the popcorn kernel expands between 20 and 50 times. As the kernel explodes, the soft starch bursts, the steam inside is released, and the grain turns inside out. After the popcorn pops, it’s ready to eat.
Why Don’t Some Popcorn Kernels Pop?
Some popcorn kernels don’t pop because the hulls of those kernels have either too much or too little water. When you make popcorn, kernels that don’t pop are called “old maids” or “spinsters.”
For a popcorn kernel to pop, it should have approximately 14 to 15% moisture in the hull.
What Happens When You Freeze Unpopped Popcorn?
When you freeze unpopped popcorn, it might take longer for the kernels to pop and there will be more steam while cooking. Some kernels might not pop because the moisture level inside the frozen kernels might fluctuate, depending on how they’re stored.
As mentioned earlier, the soft starch inside the popcorn kernel has some water inside it. Now, when you freeze the popcorn kernels, the hulls freeze.
As a result, the following things happen:
- The popcorn takes longer to pop: It may take longer to pop since the corn is frozen. The reason is that the heat has to first thaw the kernels before they pop.
- There’s more steam while cooking: The popcorn kernels are frozen, so they produce more steam as they cook than kernels stored at room temperature. The steam might affect the popcorn, and they may not be as crispy as usual.
- Some kernels might not pop: It’s normal to have some un-popped grains when you make popcorn. So, you shouldn’t be astonished if you find some “old maids” because moisture levels can fluctuate in frozen foods depending on how they’re stored.
What Is the Best Way of Storing Popcorn Kernels In The Freezer?
If you want to freeze popcorn kernels for whatever reason, you should freeze them correctly so that they can maintain their quality.
The best way of storing popcorn kernels in the freezer is in vacuum-sealed bags to ensure they don’t come into contact with any outside air. When you store them this way, they retain their moisture level and pop easily.
Why Shouldn’t You Thaw Popcorn Kernels Before Cooking?
If your popcorn kernels are frozen, you should cook them straight from the freezer without thawing them.
You shouldn’t thaw the popcorn kernels before cooking because they could become soft and soggy. Softness and sogginess interfere with their quality and moisture levels, and in the end, they might not pop well when you try to cook them.
How Do You Make Popcorn From Frozen Kernels?
Here’s how to make popcorn from frozen corn:
- Remove the popcorn kernels from the freezer and use a clean tea towel to remove any vapor on the seeds. This will stop the oil from spitting as you make the popcorn.
- Add some oil to a metal saucepan. This method helps to distribute the heat evenly in the pan, and as a result, the popcorn kernels pop more evenly.
- Place your pan on the fire and heat the oil using moderate heat. If the heat is too high, the popcorn may burn, and the popcorn might not pop if it’s too low.
- Throw three or four kernels into the oil to test if it’s hot enough. If the kernels pop, your oil is ready to cook the popcorn.
- Put some popcorn kernels in the hot oil and cover with a pan. However, you shouldn’t cover the pan completely, as there’ll be excess steam since the corn is frozen. So, leave a small space for the steam to escape.
- Once the corn has popped, remove them from the fire, leave them in the hot saucepan with the lid off for about five minutes, and keep stirring them. Doing so allows any extra moisture to evaporate, and your popcorns become crisp.
- You can put on your best topping and enjoy your treat.
You can make popcorn from frozen popcorn kernels, and if you’re lucky, your popcorn might even pop better than popcorn kernels stored at room temperature. You also have to be more patient as the frozen kernels take longer to pop.
If you vary the cooking method slightly, as mentioned above, your popcorn could become as crispy as usual.
Although you can make popcorn from frozen popcorn kernels, it’s better to put them in airtight containers and store at room temperature. They can last for months when stored this way. It’s better to freeze them only when it’s necessary.