Today I Learned: how did corn turn into popcorn?
Today I Learned: how did corn turn into popcorn?
Do you know? There are two kinds of popcorn

how does corn become popcorn?

Corn has been dissected in junior high school biology class. Corn kernels are divided into seed coat, endosperm and endosperm, in which the endosperm is divided into translucent and slightly sticky horny endosperm and white powdery endosperm. When the corn kernels are heated, some of the moisture in the endosperm will gelatinize the starch grains of the horny endosperm into superhot starch paste. Another part of the water is drilled into the space of the powdery endosperm to become gaseous. In this way, the pressure inside the corn kernels will become higher. When the temperature rises to about 175-180 degrees, the pressure is too high for the seed coat to bear, so the seed coat breaks and the starch paste squirts out of it, which expands, cools and condenses into popcorn within 15 seconds. Popcorn suitable for popcorn is a type with a stronger seed coat and an ultra-high content of horny endosperm, so the internal pressure is higher before breaking, and the starch paste is bigger and fluffy.

many experiments have proved that the most important thing for to determine the burst rate is the integrity of moisture and seed coat : when the moisture in corn kernels is 14.5%, the swelling ratio is the highest, and any defect in the seed coat will lead to a decrease in the expansion ratio.

this kind of experiment is also possible to do at home-just buy some popcorn and experiment in the microwave oven. However, the equipment of scientists is certainly more than microwave ovens. For example, they will use a moisture /solids analyzer to analyze the water-locking ability of corn seed coat, or X-ray diffraction techniques to study the structural changes of corn seed coat.

when millions of people around the world are eating popcorn or popcorn every day, there is also a small group of people dealing with the same thing with machines that ordinary people may never know about. When you think about it, it's actually quite interesting.

more tips on popcorn:

there are two kinds of popcorn . Old-fashioned popcorn blossoms like a flower, and this form is called "butterfly" or "snowflake". However, if the seed coat cracks evenly, it produces spherical popcorn, also known as "mushroom-shaped". Although the mushroom-shaped expansion rate is not as large as that of a butterfly, it is easy to transport and preserve, and can be more evenly stained with sugar or other seasonings, so it is often used to process popcorn snacks. The hybrid varieties that can burst spherical popcorn with a high probability appeared only in 1998.

the principle of puffed food and breakfast cereal is actually the same as popcorn . Many grains and fake grains can be puffed, but because there is not enough strong seed coat, external pressure is needed. The old-fashioned cannon rice machine is a typical external pressure supply. Buckwheat and sorghum can produce butterfly-shaped popcorn, but they are still much smaller than popcorn.

the earliest popcorn dates back to 6700 years ago . In 2012, archaeologists found cornstalks in Peru, a variety of popcorn. But at that time, people seemed to crush or grind corn into cornmeal.

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popcorn sounds similar to the principle of opening champagne . A 2015 study, which used high-speed cameras to capture the action of popcorn when it burst, determined that the popping sound was caused by high-pressure steam ejecting the seed coat. This is similar to the sound of champagne when the lid is opened. In the paper, the starch bundle sprayed from the first opening of the corn seed coat is compared to a leg, and then the corn kernels stretch a leg, then stretch a leg, and then do a back flip and explode into popcorn. The author also cited the fungus spore ejection paper and the human back somersault paper as an analogy, but the latter one seems a little far-fetched.

Why do you eat popcorn when you watch a movie? in the early days, cinemas had a high-end image, but in fact, they did not eat popcorn, a food for the poor. Later, during the Great Depression in the United States, theaters were unable to maintain their previous high ticket price management strategy, so they changed to cheap and high-profit popcorn as the main profit model. After all, corn was cheap, and popcorn did not occupy the stomach and smelled good, so it was a perfect snack. But at that time, the United States regulated sugar, so popcorn was salty rather than the sweet popcorn we were used to. The difference between the East and the West is still obvious today. At present, cinema chains account for more than half of the profits of popcorn in terms of gross profit.

finally, the one in the picture is lotus seed popcorn! Of course, because the seed coat is very thin, it should be expanded with a pressure vessel, so it is mushroom-shaped.

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