Unpopped Popcorn – Why Do Some Popcorn Kernels Not Pop?

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Who doesn’t love large pieces of yummy, tender popcorn ? That’s possibly the best thing you could have with you when watching a good movie at the theaters.

But not all pop corn kernels pop even when heated to the right temperature. Kernels that pop only partially typically have hard centers and you certainly will not relish eating them.

Have you ever wondered …

What Makes Popcorn Pop ?

Every kernel of popcorn has some moisture and oil. It’s outer shell is impervious to moisture and strong. When the kernels are heated to a temperature above the boiling point of water, the moisture inside the kernel becomes superheated steam. Pressurized steam.

The steam inside the kernel has nowhere to go as the hull is moisture proof. Under such conditions, the starch in the kernel gelatinizes. It becomes pliable and soft.

On continued heating, the pressure and temperature inside the hull further increase and the hull ruptures. When the hull ruptures, the pressure in the kernel drops. The steam expands rapidly, and the starch and the proteins expand into airy foam.

The foam cools fast, and the starch and proteins become the crispy piece of popcorn that so many people have come to relish.

If this is how popcorn pops, then how come …

Popcorn Doesn’t Always Pop?

For kernels to pop, they have to be heated at an optimal rate. Heat the kernels too fast and the hull ruptures before the starch in the kernel’s center can fully gelatinize. This will cause partially popped kernels.

On the other hand, if they are heated too slowly, then the kernels will remain entirely unpopped as the steam can leak out.

Kernels that have too much moisture do not pop well. When you heat freshly harvested popcorn, what you might end up with are chewy pieces.

For the best results, kernels need to have to have the right amount of moisture to create steam, and they have to be heated at the right temperatures. If either of these conditions are not met, popcorn may not pop 🙂

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Source by Guru Bhakt

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