Popcorn is a type of maize and a member of the grass family. Popcorn is a whole grain and is made up of three parts: the germ, endosperm, and pericarp (the hull). Of the four most common types of corn—sweet, field, Indian corn, and popcorn—only popcorn pops! Popcorn differs from other types of corn in that its hull has just the right thickness to allow it to burst open. Each kernel of popcorn contains a small amount of water kept inside a circle of soft starch, which is surrounded by the hard surface of the kernel. Popcorn needs moisture in order to pop. As the kernel heats up, the water begins to expand. At around 212 degrees the water turns into steam and changes the starch inside each kernel into a superhot gelatinous mass. The kernel continues to heat to about 347 degrees. The pressure inside the grain will increase before finally bursting the hull open. As it explodes, the steam inside the kernel is released. The soft starch inside the popcorn inflates and bursts out, cooling immediately and forming an odd shape. A kernel can swell 40-50 times its original size!
Five fun facts.
- Popcorn contains no artificial preservatives or additives, and is sugar free.
- 1 ounce of unpopped popcorn will give you a quart of popped popcorn.
- Popcorn is a whole grain.
- Popcorn can pop up to 3 feet in the air!
- The first puffed breakfast cereal was enjoyed by the colonists - a bowl of popcorn served with milk or cream.
Five popcorn recipes.
- Cheesy Popcorn - Dress up your popcorn and turn it in to an elegant spicy treat with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Honey Peanut Butter And Chocolate Popcorn - such a delicious treat, perfect to give as a gift, but don't forget to keep some for yourself!
- Light Yummy Yogurt Popcorn - This popcorn recipe will fill your sweet craving without piling on the weight.
- Lemon Pepper and Parmesan Popcorn - Popcorn does not have to be boring - the lemon pepper and parmesan give the popcorn a light zing!
- Popcorn S'mores - Didn't know that s'mores could be made with popcorn? Follow this recipe and surprise yourself with how perfectly they go with the marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate.
Click here for more popcorn recipes.
Read The A-Maize-ing World of Popcorn!
Nutritional Information for one cup of air popped popcorn.
Fat: 0.3 g
Carbohydrates: 6 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 0 mg
Protein: 1 g