Popcorn. It’s great, healthy even, if one leaves off the buttery goodness… But other than eating it, I’ve never really thought about how it pops and even why it pops. There was an article in the recent Dunedin Star about popcorn that wasn’t popping (01 July 2010)!! Turns out recent weather (and high demand) meant that the pop-your-own popcorn (not the microwave stuff) wasn’t popping into edible food, just blackening pots and leaving consumers unfulfilled. Why? Well, popcorn needs a certain amount of moisture to pop, and has to be stored after harvest to reach its ‘perfect’ moisture level (~13.5% if you will), and because of a huge demand last year, they had to use the new season’s corn earlier than usual.
For how popcorn pops and why some don’t pop at all, check out this article and podcast.