A Good Horny Endosperm Makes the Best Popcorn and 6 Other Popcorn Facts

Popcorn ChemistryTwig

  1. Did you know that popcorn is technically a cereal? It is, but just a very special kind. I mean, you wouldn’t eat popcorn with milk…
  2. The volume of a single piece of corn can inflate up to 20-30 times when popped!
  3. Popcorn will only pop when it has between 11-14% moisture. Talk about a picky kernel. In fact, popcorn will pop most optimally when it has about 13.5% moisture. [Source 1]
  4. All methods of creating popcorn are not equal! In one study performed it was found that while popcorn produced in a microwave and that produced the old fashioned way make the same odors, the tactile (or feel) of the popcorn was significantly different.
  5. The temperature inside a popcorn popper should ideally range between 343 – 388 degrees F (173 – 198 degrees C). What you really want is for the corn to begin popping in 1 to 3 minutes.
  6. The horny endosperm really makes your popcorn pop. A corn kernel is inflated by steam produced within the vitreous endosperm. The actual popping of the corn depends greatly upon the horny endosperm which will allow pressure to build within the kernel. [Source 2]
  7. About 36 different compounds have been identified in popcorn volatiles (no, butter is not one of them!). They range from pyrazines to carbonyls and substituted phenols.
  8. There you have it. Some awesome popcorn facts. Share with your friends if you found this interesting!

    [Source 1] Smith, G.M. and A.M. Brunson. 1947. Hybrid Popcorn in Indiana. Purdue University Agr. Exp. Sta. Bull. No. 510. 19 pp. Popping expansion; optimum moisture content.

    [Source 2] Reeve, R.M., and H.G. Walker. 1969. The microscopic structure of popped cereals. Cereal Chem. 46: 227-241. Structural changes when popped.

    [General Source] Charley, Helen. Food Science, 2nd Ed. John Wiley & Sons, 1982.

    [Photo Credit] selenamariedesigns

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