Is there any snack food on Earth as beloved as a handful of fragrant, freshly popped corn? We think not. Certain ancient peoples believed that a tiny spirit dwelled inside each kernel of popping corn. Their legends purported that fire made the little spirits angry, causing them to burst out of the shell when heated. There is surely something magical about popcorn, but the reason it pops is far more scientific than fanciful.
For corn to pop, it must be of the right variety. There are many types of corn, but only one of them has everything it takes to properly pop. Popcorn belongs to a part of the grass family called maize. Like other whole grains, a popcorn kernel comprises a center portion called the germ, a starchy part called the endosperm and a pericarp, or hull. Some popcorn is touted as 'hull-less', but that's a bit of a misnomer. All popcorn kernels have a super hard hull. If they did not have a harder hull than regular corn, they'd be completely unpoppable. So-called hull-less corn is simply bred to have a hull that shatters more efficiently when popped.
That explains the composition of a popcorn kernel. How in the world does that small, impenetrable grain become the puffed-up treat we all know and love? It takes steam heat, and we're not referring to the steam-powered motors that ran the first popcorn machines. Inside every popcorn kernel there is a tiny amount of water. Remember that pesky hull that nobody wants to bite into? That hull preserves the optimal 14% water content inside each kernel until it's excited by the popping process. That's when the magic happens.
When heated, the water inside each kernel changes into steam. As it gets hotter and hotter, the steam combines with the starchy endosperm to create a soft, gelatinous mass. When the kernel reaches an internal temperature of 356°F/180°C, the pressure inside is more than the outer shell can contain. At that moment, the hull shatters and the steamed starch becomes foam for a mere instant, then cools and sets into the fluffy and delicious puffs that everyone loves to eat.
PopcornMachines.com is pleased to present a splendid selection of Benchmark, Cretors, Paragon and Gold Medal machines that make quick work of popping corn. Of course, we've also got all the oils, salts, flavorings and accessories. We're always open, so be sure to bookmark this page and revisit us every time you want first class popping machines and popcorn supplies.