The only way popcorn could get better is if you make it into caramel popcorn! Anybody who loves caramel popcorn would want to make it last as long as possible. Could freezing your caramel popcorn be a safe and efficient way to do that?
Caramel corn can be frozen safely as long as it is done correctly. Freezing must be done with bulk amounts of popcorn, otherwise, it may not be worth the process. Once the popcorn has cooled after being made, place it into airtight bags and seal it as tightly as possible. Then freeze.
Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Read on to learn more about freezing and storing caramel popcorn as well as the pros and cons of doing so. Hopefully, you will be able to discover the storage method that works best for you.
How Do I Freeze and Unfreeze Caramel Popcorn?
As mentioned before, freezing caramel popcorn is pretty straightforward. You can freeze large or small amounts of popcorn and save it for parties, holidays, road trips, or just personal snacking. So, without further ado, here is a detailed list of the steps you will have to take in the making and freezing process!
You can freeze caramel corn whether it’s homemade or storebought, though homemade stuff is usually much better. If you have chosen to make the popcorn yourself, allow it to cool off completely before doing anything with it.
Once it has cooled off enough, portion the popcorn out in any way you want. This does depend on how much popcorn you made and how many portions you want to save and freeze.
Once you have portioned out your popcorn accordingly, put the portions into airtight Ziploc bags and seal them as tightly as you can (you must have as little air in the bags as possible). Finally, throw it in the freezer and wait until the time is right to pull it back out. Caramel popcorn will usually keep for up to one year in the freezer.
There’s not really a right or wrong way to go about serving your caramel popcorn, but if you don’t want it to be too soggy or soft, there is something you can do about it.
Throw the popcorn into a 250-degree oven in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Let the popcorn warm up a bit before you serve it. Bake until it becomes warm and crispy then serve it up without delay!
What are the Pros and Cons to Freezing Caramel Popcorn?
As you have undoubtedly seen, freezing caramel popcorn is a fabulous way to preserve it (as mentioned before, caramel popcorn can keep for an entire year in the freezer). There are a lot of upsides to keeping caramel popcorn in this way, however, there are a few cons to doing it as well.
Let’s talk about a few of the most important pros and cons that you should know before getting started.
First and foremost, freezing caramel popcorn is one of the best ways to preserve it for long periods of time. A year is a pretty long time to have caramel corn on hand. If your goal is to preserve your caramel popcorn for as long as possible, the freezer is definitely your best bet.
Plus, when you get it out, it should be immediately ready to serve (though this does depend on your preferences).
Secondly, freezing caramel popcorn is an incredibly easy process with no additional work or supplies required. Simply portion it off into bags, seal them, and freeze the popcorn for as long as you like. There is no arduous process or work required to do it right.
The longest process occurs in the making of the popcorn rather than the freezing of it. If you wish to skip that process, you can simply purchase caramel corn from the grocery store.
Freezing the popcorn means it will not go stale over time. This makes freezing not only an easy process but a pretty effective process as well. It will keep the popcorn in prime condition until such a time as you’d like to pull it out and snack on it. At the end of the day, frozen caramel popcorn is an easy and extremely convenient snack option.
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The pros do outweigh the cons considerably, but there are still a few possible downsides you may want to know about. First of all, your popcorn could come out of the freezer with a softer and even potentially soggier texture than it would have without being frozen.
Obviously, this is more of an issue for those who prefer crunchy caramel corn, but soggy popcorn is never desirable.
This too could be considered a matter of preference, but because popcorn could come out of the freezer soggy, you will have to take some time to thaw it. Putting it in the oven will warm it up for certain, but if you are not careful, you could crisp your popcorn up just a tad too much. This will make it fairly unpleasant to eat afterward.
Freezing popcorn is not hard, but you must keep to the suggested steps exactly. Failure to do so means you could very well end up being disappointed in your results. Any deviation from the freezing instructions means you might let too much air into the bag. This means you could wind up having to eat stale or soggy popcorn. Not fun!
What Are Other Popcorn Storage Methods?
An interesting thing about popcorn is that it does not actually spoil, per se. If left in improper conditions, however, it can lose its flavor and become irritatingly stale. That being the case, you need to keep your caramel corn away from heat, humidity, moisture, and anything else that could change its condition. There are a few ways (aside from freezing) that you can do this.
If your caramel popcorn has been purchased from the store, you can always just keep it inside its original packaging in your pantry or cupboard. Additionally, you can also put any homemade caramel corn into an airtight bag or container and store it at room temperature.
If a bag is your storage container of choice, you need to make sure to squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag so it doesn’t affect the popcorn and make it turn stale.
When you’re storing caramel popcorn at room temperature on the counter, you should be safe to leave it there for anywhere between thirty and ninety days. Keep in mind, however, that homemade popcorn has fewer preservatives and chemicals than storebought caramel popcorn does, so it may or may not keep for quite as long.
In reality, any airtight container will serve you well if you are trying to store popcorn of any kind. The biggest thing to remember when storing is to keep the air and humidity off your popcorn because that is the one thing that will ruin it and make it go stale and lose its flavor.
How Do I Know if My Caramel Corn Has Gone Bad?
As mentioned before, popcorn rarely goes bad. What it will do is become stale and chewy and begin to lose its flavor. This is usually what happens when it is left out in a humid or excessively dry environment.
It won’t be hard to tell if your popcorn is stale. If you can’t taste it particularly well and it feels harder to chew than it should, it’s probably time to throw it out and make some more.
If you leave popcorn uncovered in a particularly moist environment, it may start to grow a little bit of mold. This is fairly rare, however, because popcorn takes a long time to spoil. Plus, you will know sooner than later if it is unsuitable for eating because of its stale texture. It will most likely get thrown out before mold or fungus even has a chance to start growing.
What are Some Caramel Corn Recipes and Variations?
Caramel corn is not typically very difficult to make! Obviously, it will take a tad more effort to make compared to plain popcorn, but it’s a tasty treat that will be well worth it at the end of the day. Foodnetwork.com has a recipe that is just as good as any. Here’s a simple way to make tasty, sticky caramel popcorn (view the ingredients/amounts on the site).
The first order of business, obviously, is to pop your popcorn. Once the popcorn has been popped and cooled, sift through it to remove all of the unpopped kernels. Believe me, you do not want to go biting into one of those when it has been covered in hardened caramel. It certainly won’t do your teeth any favors.
Once you have removed all the unpopped kernels, put all the popcorn into a large bowl. Melt some corn syrup, salt, brown sugar, and shortening into a saucepan and bring it all to an even boil. Make sure to keep stirring the mixture. Finally, let it boil for four minutes without stirring. Once that’s done, stir in some vanilla and baking soda.
Once your mixture is finished pour it evenly over your popcorn. Be cautious! That caramel sauce will be extremely hot and if it touches your skin you’ll probably walk away with a blister or two. Once you have poured and evenly stirred the mixture over your popcorn you can do one of two things:
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You can let the popcorn sit for a little while until it has cooled down and snack on it right away. Doing this means your caramel corn will be soft, sticky, and somewhat chewy.
If you prefer crunchy caramel corn, heat your oven to 250 degrees and layer the popcorn into a couple of 13X9 pans coated in nonstick cooking spray. Bake it in the oven for about forty-five minutes, stirring every fifteen minutes. Pull it out when the popcorn has become crisp and golden. Let it cool, then break the mixture into bite-sized pieces and enjoy!
As you can see, making caramel popcorn is a fairly easy endeavor and the results are golden and delicious. But don’t limit yourself to eating only plain caramel corn. Spice things up a little!
You can break your caramel corn apart and throw it into snack mixes to combine the caramel flavor with a few other tasty elements. Chocolate is a very popular choice, however, caramel corn can be added to savory mixtures as well. Popcorn balls are fun treats to make as well and can be experimented on with a variety of different flavors.
When Was Caramel Popcorn Invented: The Origin Story
Caramel popcorn is a favorite treat to be sure, but when and where did it become so? Let’s talk a little bit about where caramel popcorn came from and who invented it.
Popcorn itself has been enjoyed by people for a couple of thousand years. Over time, it has steadily grown more and more popular and in demand. Popcorn became extremely popular in the United States in the 1800s when loads of it could be found at fairs and events all over.
Caramel corn was introduced to Americans sometime in the 1870s. Before it made its debut, sweet popcorn such as kettle corn (which was cooked with oil, salt, and sugar) was the most popular treat. Thanks to brothers Frederick and Louis Rueckheim, we now get to enjoy the delicious flavor of caramel popcorn today.
The two brothers emigrated from Germany and settled in Chicago where they opened a popcorn store. There, they began experimenting with different flavors and ingredients. One day they concocted a genius mixture of popcorn, molasses, and peanuts which quickly became a hit. People began to flock to the store in greater and greater numbers.
One of their customers, after sampling the mixture, declared that it was a crackerjack, meaning they thought it was really good. The name stuck, and that’s why we now have crackerjack today. The success of the Rueckheim brothers’ crackerjack has lead to plenty of subsequent experimentation with popcorns, syrups, and other flavors which have given us the popular, sweet concoction that is caramel popcorn.