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How Does Popcorn Explode?

Tip: with a strong mixture of steam and heat.

A handful of popcorn comes out of their shells and turns into something much more spectacular. As the corn performs their transformation, a small explosion sound accompanies them. Corn kernels, which expand up to 50 times their size, become soft and chewable along with the fiber they contain and useful nutrients such as antioxidants; they turn into superheroes of snack foods.

So, how do these corn kernels, hard enough to crack teeth, turn into a soft movie snack?

A popcorn core contains three important ingredients. These consist of an outer hard shell known as a seed membrane, a middle layer known as a besidoku, and the innermost part known as a seed or embryo. Each of the popcorn stands packed with water and starch. When the popcorn core heats up, the water inside turns into steam. This water vapor creates pressure inside the core. As the pressure builds up, the starch begins to soften. When the nucleus reaches about 177 degrees, the shell or seed membrane explodes in this pressure horse formed, and the starch exceeds the limits of the shell.

So if each of the cores explodes under temperature and pressure, Why are there always cores left at the bottom of the bowl that don’t explode?

Each core needs a moisture level of about 14 percent. If the water content falls below this level, the resulting vapor decreases, and the possibility that the cores explode and expand by getting under enough pressure also decreases.

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But these kernels are more than just a delicious snack. Popcorn is very nutrient dense thanks to its high polyphenol levels. Polyphenols, micronutrients found in plant foods, are rich in antioxidants that protect cells in the body from breaking down. According to a study in 2012, one serving of popcorn contains 300 mg of polyphenol, which means that one serving of milk is almost three times as much as that found in corn and one serving is almost twice as much as that found in fruit…

The reason popcorn kernels contain so much food is because they contain an average of 4 percent water, compared to 90 percent in fruits and vegetables. When the kernels explode, all that’s left is starch and crust with fiber and polyphenols. This fiber transmits polyphenols to the bloodstream during digestion, and in return positively affects the health of the person who eats popcorn.

Popcorn, which contains three and a half grams of fiber per three-cup serving, also tops the nonprofit Mayo Clinic Medical Center’s list of healthy, high-fiber foods.

Are you ready to experiment now? Next time you go to the grocery store or grocery store, leave the microwave bags on the shelf and whoever’s shopping, just buy them popcorn kernels.

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