Have you ever thought…
- What makes popcorn pop?
- Does every corn make popcorn?
- At what temperature does an ear of corn turn into popcorn?
Whether you are cheering at a cricket stadium, watching the latest movie with your friends and family, popcorn has been one of the beloved snacks for most of us.
Have you ever thought about what’s happening inside the microwave or the pressure cooker as this tasty treat pops up?
So what makes popcorn pop? And why doesn’t each and every corn pop when heated? The answer is a matter of simple science. Popcorn is a special type of corn that pops and turns into popcorn.
What is popcorn?
Popcorn is a type of flint corn, but it has its own shape, size, moisture content, and starch level. Popcorn has a hard exterior shell and a soft starchy center.
Inside each kernel of popcorn, there is a small droplet of water protected by a hard shell known as the hull. When the corn is being heated, the water inside the corn also starts heating. As a result, the water turns into steam, which builds pressure inside the kernel. When the hull or the external shell can no longer hold the pressure inside the kernel, the kernel explodes, the steam inside the kernel is released, and the soft starch inside the popcorn gets inflated and spills out, which cools down immediately.
Around 212 degrees, the water turns into steam and changes the scratch inside the kernel into a superheated gelatinous substance. The kernel or the hull continues to heat to about 347 degrees. The pressure inside the popcorn will reach 135 pounds per square inch before finally bursting the hull open.
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- Americans consume more popcorn than any other country in the world today.
- The scientific name of popcorn is Zea Mays Everta.
- The best temperature for the popcorn to pop is around 400 – 460-degree Fahrenheit.
- The unpopped popcorn kernel is called “spinsters” or “old maids.”
- In America, 70% of the popcorn sold is eaten at home, and the rest 30 percent is eaten in stadiums, schools, theatres, etc.
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