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Storing Popcorn

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by fortunateson, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Since it can be ground into cornmeal, I plan to store a few bags of popcorn using Mylar/Oxygen absorber/5 gallon buckets.

    Now I'm reading that foods stored in this way should have less than 10% moisture.

    Popcorn normally has 13 - 15% moisture.

    I don't think there's any way to accurately and consistently dry it further - at least not at home when talking about 100s of pounds.

    So I may just give it a shot and test it in a few years to see how it held.

    Has anyone stored popcorn in this way?
    Will it work, or should I just scrap my plans and buy cornmeal instead?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. magicfingers

    magicfingers Monkey+++

    Don't have an answer for your question directly but the info that came with my grinder says not to grind popcorn in it..Something about it being too hard and will damage the blades in it...Your grinder might be different and can do it though..I got some regular ol' corn from the feed store and that is what I plan on grinding into corn meal when (if) the time ever comes...Hopefully it will never come in my lifetime.. :)
  3. fireplaceguy

    fireplaceguy Monkey+

    The concern is botulin toxin. Botox! It grows, perhaps not readily, but at least easiest in a moist anaerobic environment. The spores themselves are found everywhere and are quite difficult to destroy. Fortunately, they are harmless. We eat the spores all the time, and our digestive system destroys them long before they can germinate and produce toxin. The toxin, though incredibly lethal, is much less common and is easily killed by cooking. You don't even need to bring contaminated food to a boil. I recall reading that the toxin is destroyed at around 140 degrees (F) so I would feel perfectly safe eating contaminated food that had been heated thoroughly to 160 degrees (F) - a very common cooking temperature.

    I sealed up some popcorn in #10 cans with oxygen absorbers two years ago as an experiment. The fact that the spores are everywhere guarantees that I sealed some inside those cans.

    Here's my reasoning as to why it's safe anyway: Popcorn pops because the hard hull seals moisture inside the kernel. The kernels pop (explode) under steam pressure. If this is the only way the steam can escape, that means it's been heated WAY beyond 160 degrees prior to popping. Since the kernel is dense enough to contain steam, it's unlikely that any spores can grow inside the kernel anyway. Even if they could, the kernels are quite small, so I'm fairly confident they'll be heated plenty evenly throughout before they pop.

    I worry less about stored popcorn than any other high-moisture food because of these factors. Popcorn is actually the only higher moisture food I store canned.

    Just to be safe, I'll feed the first batch to some older chickens or maybe someone else's kid before I eat any myself!


    Kidding. Those chickens are way too valuable!

    (OK - still kidding!)

    Anyway, if you were really worried about botulin but still wanted to store popcorn, just seal it up in thick (5 mil plus) mylar bags with oxygen absorbers and throw it in a freezer - it'll last decades that way and be absolutely safe, since even proper refrigeration will keep the spores from germinating and producing any toxin, and that thick a bag should prevent dessication even after years in a freezer...

    And, I am storing it to be popped. For corn meal, I store regular corn, which has low enough moisture levels to eliminate this worry altogether, and is FAR easier on your grinder. I wouldn't store pre-ground meal, since grinding increases surface area exponentially. That leads to rapid loss of nutritional value. Same applies to flour vs, wheat kernels, etc., etc., etc. (Besides, the whole seeds can be sprouted. I regularly sprout wheat, buckwheat and amaranth from my storage. You could always plant a crop with those seeds, too! Try THAT with corn meal or flour!)

    One of the advantages to a food storage program is higher nutrition everyday. (You DO use/rotate your storage food regularly in peacetime, don't you?) Why give that extra nutrition up?
  4. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    About 15 yrs ago I grew a small crop of popping corn. I dried in on the cob (for months) then sealed it in airtight canning jars.

    I popped it successfully for many years. It popped much smaller than the commercial popcorns you buy but it was good, has no chemical treatment and in general, a fun fall bounty.

    At the time, I never considered grinding it so I can't add anything useful to the discussion
  5. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Thanks guys.
    Once ground, it will be baked, so that also takes care of killing the baddies.

    I'm expecting my grinder any day, so I'm going to grind up a bunch and have the wife bake some corn bread. Will report back with a full belly.
  6. Jack Cracker

    Jack Cracker Monkey+

    Is ground popcorn superior to other forms of crack corn for some reason?
  7. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Not sure. For me, it's easy to find in quantity.
  8. Random

    Random Monkey+

    I was thinking of buying some from beprepared dot com. Is it worth it, or should I just get regular corn, put it in mylar with de-oxygenation things and store it that way?
  9. Bear4570

    Bear4570 Monkey+

    I recently bought a 5 Gallon Bucket of Popcorn from Emergency Essentials for about $40 on sale. Equal to 8 #10 cans worth. 45 lbs.

    Already stored and sealed.
  10. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Our local Sam's club carries 50lb bags for ~$17
    Add mylar, oxygen absorbers, and pail and you're still under $20 with corn to spare.
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