How Popcorn Pops

How Popcorn Pops

   If you're reading this, then I can safely infer one thing.  You like popcorn.  In fact, it wouldn't be a big stretch for me to say that you even love popcorn.  Well I (and the entire Franklin's team) love popcorn too, and it occurred to me recently that I've been taking this incredible snack for granted.  

   Popcorn is so ingrained in our history that cooking a kettle of popcorn is hardly given any more thought beyond the immediacy of the snack itself.  We simply pour in our kernels, oil and flavorings, heat it for a few minutes while listening to that nostalgic, muffled pop, pop, pop of kernels bursting into popcorn, then we empty the contents into a bowl and enjoy.  But that process that we are so accustomed to is where the true magic of popcorn happens; when a kernel is transformed into that fluffy, golden treat!

   When you take a step back and compare a flake of popcorn and a kernel of corn, it's difficult to see how one ever came from the other.  They differ in size, texture, flavor and color, among other qualities.  So how do we get from a hard kernel to a fluffy flake of popcorn?

   Well, for a kernel to pop into popcorn, you need a few things, namely: heat, the proper moisture content inside the kernel and a tough outer shell.  When heated up, the moisture inside of a popcorn kernel turns to steam and starts to expand, which builds up pressure inside the shell.   Once enough pressure builds up, the shell bursts open and the starchy insides explode out and then cool rapidly, resulting in a flake of delicious, popped corn.  

   Don't believe me?  Check it out for yourself in the slow-motion video from Andrew Bridges below: