Monday, February 25, 2013

Popping Popcorns

It may be home or movie theatre, healthy, crunchy and yummy popcorn is a best treat to our tastebuds. Zea mays everta is the scientific name of  Popcorn that  belongs  to monocots group.

The journey of little kernel to become popcorn is in fact quite amazing!! Popcorn kernel encloses little amount of moisture and starch inside the hard, water impermeable hull. When heated, water turns into steam but cannot escape out. As a result pressure builds up inside and finally kernel explodes. During heating starch becomes gelatinized and softened. While exploding starch and proteins become foam like, that cools rapidly to give characteristic structure to the popcorn.

 Air-popped popcorn is rich in fibres, with low calories and low fat. Doctors and health experts advice that popcorn should not be given to children below four years because it can cause choking. Popcorns require around 14–15% moisture by weigh to pop. There are two important shapes of popcorns: butterfly popcorn and mushroom popcorn. The popcorn that’s available in theatres is butterfly popcorn with protruding wings and mouthwatering feel. On the other hand mushroom popcorns are dense, to which chocolate or caramel flavor is added.  

Archaeologists have discovered around 4000 years old ear of popcorns in caves in New Mexico. Popcorns are not only used as food but also used in decorations. It’s interesting to note that popcorn can pop upto 3 feet in air!!! “Old maids” is a name given to popcorns that do not pop.

Popcorn is indeed a perfect blend of aroma, flavour, sound. A tiny little boon, favorite to everyone.

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