Harvesting and curing popcorn is a simple process that should be done in mid fall, after your first frost but before snow or rain settle in.
We love growing our own popcorn! There are lots of reasons for that including self sufficiency and just over all taste (of the home grown popcorn)! Learning to grow popcorn is easy to do. If you would like to learn more about growing popcorn in your garden take a look at this post.
Recently I filmed this 5 Minute Friday Video tip on Curing popcorn. Be sure to watch it as well.
When to Harvest Your Popcorn
Harvest time for popcorn usually comes very late in the summer or early in the fall. I like to wait until the husks on the cobs have completely “yellowed” and are nice and dry. You can also feel the cobs. The corn under the husks should be hard and dry before you harvest.
I try to leave the cobs on the stalks for as long as possible. The longer that corn dries outside and on the stalk the better. But there is a happy medium that you need to reach. Let the cobs dry on the stalks as long as you can, but bring them in before your weather really turns wet. You don’t want those cobs that have been drying for all that time to then get rained on or snowed on. We have found that usually we need to harvest our popcorn by the middle of October in out Zone 6 garden.
Curing Popcorn Indoors
As I described in the video above, curing popcorn in a really simple process that mainly involves a nice dry airy spot and lots of time!
I prefer curing popcorn indoors. It is easier to control the process of curing popcorn if you do it in a shed, garage or even your basement. A good spot for curing popcorn is some where dry with good air circulation. And it is vital that your popcorn does not get wet while it is curing. That’s why I just do it inside in my garage. No chance of rain or frost getting on the curing popcorn if it is indoors.
Lots of time is the Key
Remove the husks on the popcorn before curing. You can either pull it off completely or if you would like a nice fall time decoration for your house, carefully pull the husks back but leave them attached to the cob.
Place the curing popcorn on a screen for good air circulation. Or tie bunches of cobs by the husks and hang them.
Then all you need to do is wait! I’ve found that it takes between 4 to 6 weeks for popcorn to cure correctly after harvest.
Once you think your popcorn has cured, scrape a tablespoon or so off of one of your cobs pop it using your preferred method. (We use an air popper). If most of the kernels pop then you are good to go! If you have more than just a few kernels that don’t pop, then wait another week or so and try again!
We like to remove the popcorn from the cobs all at once and store it in glass jars. But you can store the popcorn on the cobs if you like and remove it as needed.
Store the jars or cured cobs in a dark dry pantry, DO NOT store your popcorn in the freezer!