What is the proper way to harvest and store popcorn?
The moisture content of popcorn determines its popping quality. The ideal moisture content of popcorn is 13 to 14.5 percent.
Popcorn should be left on the stalk until fully mature. Harvest the ears when the husks are brown and the kernels are hard and shiny. After harvest, remove the husks and place the ears in a mesh bag and hang the popcorn in a warm, dry, well-ventilated location for a few weeks. After drying the popcorn for 2 to 3 weeks, remove an ear of popcorn. Shell a portion of the ear and pop the kernels. If the kernels contain too much moisture, the popped corn will be small, rough, and “chewy.” Allow the popcorn to dry for another week. Then shell and test pop a few additional kernels. When the kernels pop well, shell the remainder of the popcorn. The chaff can be removed by pouring the kernels from one container to another outdoors, allowing the wind to remove the debris. After the popcorn has been cleaned, store the kernels in airtight containers.