Different Type Popcorn Introduction
Popcorn (popped corn, popcorns or pop-corn) is a variety of corn kernel which expands and puffs up when heated; the same names are also used to refer to the foodstuff produced by the expansion.
Each kernel of popcorn contains a certain amount of moisture and oil. Unlike most other grains, the outer hull of the popcorn kernel is both strong and impervious to moisture and the starch inside consists almost entirely of a hard type.
As the oil and water within the kernel are heated, they turn the moisture in the kernel into pressurized steam. Under these conditions, the starch inside the kernel gelatinizes, softens, and becomes pliable. The internal pressure of the entrapped steam continues to increase until the breaking point of the hull is reached: a pressure of approximately 135 psi (930 kPa) and a temperature of 180 °C (356 °F). The hull thereupon ruptures rapidly and explodes, causing a sudden drop in pressure inside the kernel and a corresponding rapid expansion of the steam, which expands the starch and proteins of the endosperm into airy foam. As the foam rapidly cools, the starch and protein polymers set into the familiar crispy puff. Special varieties are grown to give improved popping yield. Though the kernels of some wild types will pop, the cultivated strain is Zea mays everta, which is a special kind of flint corn.
Popcorn can be cooked with butter or oil. Although small quantities can be popped in a stove-top kettle or pot in a home kitchen, commercial sale of freshly popped popcorn employs specially designed popcorn machines, which were invented in Chicago, Illinois, by Charles Cretors in 1885. Creators successfully introduced his invention at the Columbian Exposition in 1893. At this same world’s fair, F.W. Rueckheim introduced a molasses-flavored “Candied Popcorn”, the first caramel corn; his brother, Louis Ruekheim, slightly altered the recipe and introduced it as Cracker Jack popcorn in 1896.
Butterfly Shape Popcorn vs Mushroom Shape Popcorn
In the popcorn industry, a popped kernel of corn is known as a “flake”. Two shapes of flakes are commercially important. “Butterfly” (or “snowflake”) flakes are irregular in shape and have a number of protruding “wings”. “Mushroom” flakes are largely ball-shaped, with few wings. Butterfly flakes are regarded as having better mouthfeel, with greater tenderness and less noticeable hulls. Mushroom flakes are less fragile than butterfly flakes and are therefore often used for packaged popcorn or confectionery, such as caramel corn. The kernels from a single cob of popcorn may form both butterfly and mushroom flakes; hybrids that produce 100% butterfly flakes or 100% mushroom flakes exist, the latter developed only as recently as 1998. Growing conditions and popping environment can also affect the butterfly-to-mushroom ratio.
When referring to multiple pieces of popcorn collectively, it is acceptable to use the term “popcorn”. When referring to a singular piece of popcorn, the accepted term is “kernel”.