Popping corn is a specialized type of corn grain that pops when exposed to high heat. It creates a nutritious and yummy snack that is high in fiber. It is not like other types of corn that can be cooked and eaten off the cob. When heated the inside of a popping corn kernel breaks through the hull creating a fluffy, white kernel.
How Does Popcorn Pop?
For popcorn kernels to pop they needs four things: moisture which is stored inside the kernel, starch inside the kernel, the hard shell surrounding the outside of the kernel and heat. If any one of these things is missing a popcorn kernel will not pop. Basically when the popcorn kernel heats up, whether in a pot, a popcorn machine or the microwave, the moisture inside the kernel turns into steam and expands. This causes pressure to build up inside the hard outer shell. When the pressure becomes too great the kernel explodes or pops. This essentially turns the popcorn kernel inside out so that the fluffy white part is exposed. Popcorn kernels need to be heated to approximately 400 degree F before they will explode. That is how a popcorn kernel pops.
Why Does Popcorn Come Out White And Fluffy?
Inside a popcorn kernel there is a particular type of starch called endosperm. When heated the granulated starch does not explode but expand into bubbles. These join with neighboring bubbles to form the three dimensional shape of popcorn. As they continue to be heated they solidify and break out of the hard outer shell to become the white, fluffy stuff that we call popcorn.