What Causes Popcorn to Pop?

There’s actually more to popcorn than scraping it off the cob and throwing it into butter to make popcorn. Corn kernels undergo through strict processing before it ends up corn pop was a bad dude

  as the popcorn in your bowl as you watch your favourite evening TV show.

Among the five types of corn, popcorn is the only variety that pops in a consistent and regular manner. The other corn varieties can pop when exposed to very high temperatures, but they don’t get that picture perfect, near white consistency that goes into commercially prepared popcorn you get from the supermarket shelves.

The secret to that pleasing popcorn consistency is amazingly just water. Each corn kernel that goes into the popping machine contains a regulated amount of water in order for it to pop uniformly and beautifully. Popcorn growers and processors try to keep the water content level in each kernel at 13.5% to get the best popping results. Water is stored in the soft, starch-based coating that wraps each popcorn kernel. A secondary layer of hard starch serves as the final outer coating, holding in all moisture until the kernel is exposed to extreme temperature. Water contained within heats up when placed under high temperatures and the outer hard starch coating tries to hold it in. The kernel expands with high pressure and heat until the outer coating can no longer hold, then the whole kernel explodes, turning it inside out. Water is released in steam form while the corn pops.

Other corn varieties possess a similar kernel anatomy but their starch coatings are not strong enough to hold a good amount of pressure when heated. So the kernel does not pop to perfect consistency and size like the true popcorn variety.

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