Why does Popcorn pop?
Popcorn belongs to the cereal category of seeds. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ It is comprised of an outer thin and tough covering, called Pericarp, which is a major part of the seed called the endosperm and inner embryo.Ãƒ’šÃ‚ The endosperm consists of mostly starch, as well as proteins, fats, water and minerals. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ The embryo is useful to generate a new plantlet from the seed. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ The whole structure is covered by a tip cap. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ The water present in the endosperm is actually responsible for the popping of pop corn.
When the pop corn is heated to about 400 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, the water that is present in the endosperm becomes vapor. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ This vapor generates pressure and makes the starch surrounding it expand to about fifty times its usual size. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ This pressure that is built up inside makes the Pericarp break, and give way for the starch and vapor to drastically come out. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ This drastic way is nothing but the splitting of the Pericarp, with a noisy explosion that we can hear.
During this process the inside starch turns upside down and exposes the white softy starch, which we call popcorn. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ The water content present inside the seed should be around thirteen to fourteen percent. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ If the water content is less than the ideal percentage, then popping does not occur properly. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ If the water content is more, the seed will split before it is used for popping. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ The starch appears as little bit plumpy, and cannot be cooked properly.
The Pericarp of the seed should be very hard and tough so that it covers it until the starch is properly cooked. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ The covering must retain this starch until it expands nicely, and comes out as soft tissue. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ If the pericarp is broken somewhere, then it will not allow the steam pressure to be generated inside, which helps the starch to come out as soft tissue. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ The steam escapes from the hole if the pericarp is broken. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ The temperature also should be very high to create popcorn and cook the starch properly.
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