The Pop in popcorn

Everybody loves popcorn – whether it’s crispy, sweet caramel or tangy tomato or butter overload; well, the list will go on and on. As kids, there were times when watching the popcorn machine at the movie theatres was a little bit more fun than the movies. Seriously, have you seen the gadget? It’s got a pot on the top with a lid that lets out the popped corn. So fascinating, right?
 
Ever wondered what makes the popcorn ‘pop’? I know I have. I have tried to take a quick peak under the cooker lid when I’m popping corn at home. Please note this is not a good idea, take it from someone experienced, the popcorn pops and it can get into your face if you do something silly as peaking at the popcorn.
 
But here’s why popcorn pops. There is a little teensy weensy bit of water in the popcorn kernel that, on heating, expands and turns into steam. When the pressure gets too high, you guessed it, the kernel pops. Now, this doesn’t happen with any seed. This will happen with the hardened popcorn seeds. You know the popping-corn seeds.
 
And that’s not all there’s to it. Have you noticed how there are two kinds of popcorn; one that’s all even and round and one that’s all-over-the-place? The first kind is called mushroom popcorn because it looks like one and is all evenly formed. The latter is called butterfly popcorn, just so pretty in its fluttery form.
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So now you not only know why popcorn pops but also there are two kinds of popcorn. Bet you’ll remember this when you’re munching popcorn next time!
 
Here is a slow motion video of popping popcorn
 

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