(WHTM) — Whether you enjoy it in a movie theater, or as a simple snack at work, popcorn is one of those foods that most people enjoy.
But how does popcorn, well, pop?
Popcorn comes from a specific type of corn kernel. This kernel has two layers: one layer is the hull and the other layer is the endosperm. The endosperm is where the hard starch and a small amount of moisture are located. The hull is the outer, yellow-colored shell of the kernel.
According to The Spruce Eats, when these kernels are heated, the small amount of moisture inside the kernel begins to expand and then turns to steam. At the same time, the heat makes the hard starch become more malleable and can move.
The kernel continues to heat up and the pressure inside the endosperm continues to build up so much that the hull of the kernel cannot hold the pressure. This is when the hull ruptures, the steam expands and causes the now-soft starch to puff out. The steam escapes instantly and this is what causes the starch to become solid once again as it cools.
This is why popcorn is so fluffy, due to it going from a solid to a semi-liquid state and then back to a solid.
Ever wonder why when you sometimes pop popcorn, some of the kernels do not pop?
Spruce Eats says that this can be due to the hull not being formed correctly. If there is a small crack in the hull of the kernel, the pressure cannot build up normally as it would if the hull as completely intact.
Another reason may be that the kernel is lacking enough moisture to cause enough steam to rupture the hull. Improper heating may also contribute to kernels not popping. Popcorn pops the best in dry heat produced by air or oil, and heating the corn too slowly or at temperatures that are too low may not create the exact pressure the kernel needs to pop.