Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"Where did popcorn come from anyway?"

This is one of those random September Tuesdays where I'm wanting Fall temperatures, no, the REAL Fall temperatures, not 93 degrees with humidity, and..... I'm all over the place with thoughts about random things.

Like popcorn for instance.

I love popcorn. Fluffy white (I prefer white over yellow) kernels being popped over intense heat and then lightly seasoned with salt and butter. REAL butter, not the "I can't believe it's not".

"Where did popcorn come from anyway?" I said to myself. Out loud. When I work from home I tend to have entire conversations with myself.

So I googled it. Because google is a verb.

Our good friends at popcorn.org provide this:

Popcorn is scientifically known as Zea mays everta. It’s a type of maize, or corn, and is a member of the grass family. Popcorn is a whole grain and is made up of three components: the germ, endosperm, and pericarp (or hull). Of the 4 most common types of corn—sweet, dent (also known as field), flint (also known as Indian corn), and popcorn—only popcorn pops! Popcorn differs from other types of corn in that its hull has just the right thickness to allow it to burst open.

Each kernel of popcorn contains a small drop of water stored inside a circle of soft starch. Popcorn needs between 13.5-14% moisture to pop. The soft starch is surrounded by the kernel's hard outer surface.

As the kernel heats up, the water begins to expand. Around 212 degrees the water turns into steam and changes the starch inside each kernel into a superhot gelatinous goop. The kernel continues to heat to about 347 degrees. The pressure inside the grain will reach 135 pounds per square inch before finally bursting the hull open.

As it explodes, steam inside the kernel is released. The soft starch inside the popcorn becomes inflated and spills out, cooling immediately and forming into the odd shape we know and love. A kernel will swell 40-50 times its original size!

Now you know. You can carry forth in your journeys to favorite-snack-land, "in-the-know" about popcorn and what makes it "pop".

Aren't you glad you visit Tiffany's?

I must go now. I've got corn to pop, and I WILL use REAL butter. Okay, just a little. But still.

See you soon friend,

PS I could eat popcorn for breakfast, if only it wouldnt get stuck in my teeth so much. Sigh.

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