Are you trying to figure out if you can make popcorn with regular corn? If so, read on to find the answer and you may even learn some valuable and meaningful information along the way.
You can pop dried, whole on the cob corn, but the results will not be as expected. Popcorn is a specific type of corn that is distinct from other corn and is grown for popping, resulting in light and fluffy popcorn.
Popcorn is a relatively healthy snack that can be eaten at any time of day or night. There is a difference between corn on the cob kernels and popcorn kernels, you eat one for dinner and the other while watching a movie.
Can You Turn Regular Corn Into Popcorn?
For corn to pop, a hard shell around the kernel is required which is not present in sweetcorn varieties. It is more challenging to get the perfect popping kernel than one might think.
First, you need a specific percentage of water in the kernel to get it to pop. Second, you cannot store unpopped popcorn out in the open. Third, you need to store kernels in an air-tight container to keep in the moisture.
Popcorn pops because the kernels contain small amounts of moisture that, when heated, cook the starches inside the popcorn, causing them to expand and erupt from the seed rapidly. Therefore, corn used for popping must have the following characteristics: some internal moisture, a hard outer shell to keep that moisture in, and not overly moist.
Sweet corn kernels are not used to create popcorn that we enjoy topping with butter and salt and other goodies. Regular corn is too moist to pop into fluffy goodness.
When Was Popcorn Discovered?
As we know it today, corn would have not come to be if humans had not cultivated and developed it. It is a manufactured plant that does not occur naturally in the wild. It can only survive if humans plant it and protect it.
Mayan civilizations domesticated the crop plant we know today, Zea mays, from a wild ancestor known as Teosinte almost 9,000 years ago. Teosinte’s grains were encased in a hard outer shell that made them unpalatable.
Archeological data implies that it was not until ancient plant growers noticed a mutation that caused this hard coating to disappear that modern-day corn began to develop. They began to domesticate the plant.
The fascinating aspect of the maize story is what it revealed about agriculturalists’ capabilities 9,000 years ago. These people lived in small groups and moved their homes seasonally, but they were able to turn grass with many inconvenient, undesirable characteristics into a high-yielding, easily harvested food crop.
What Varieties Of Corn Are Available?
Corn has a few characteristics that influence how it is used. Some corn varieties have higher sugar content, while others are starchier. Here are the types of corn:
Dent corn is frequently used as livestock feed, for industrial products, and in processed foods. Dent corn is also commonly known as “field” corn. Dent kernels, which can be white or yellow, contain both hard and soft starch and become indented as they mature. It makes no difference how much salt, sugar, or butter you put on a freshly picked dent corn cob, the taste will remain bland.
Flint corn and dent corn are remarkably similar (minus the dent). Flint corn gets its name from its tough outer shell à la flintstone. Its cobs come in a variety of colors, with different pigmentations in each kernel. Flint corn is still widely grown in Central and South America.
Popcorn is a type of flint corn with a soft starchy center surrounded by a tough outer shell. When popcorn is heated, the tangible moisture inside the kernel converts to steam, causing the kernel to explode. When the kernel explodes, a white starchy mass forms that many enjoy eating. To some extent, all types of corn will pop, but they will not have enough starch to turn inside out or an outside layer that will generate enough tension to explode.
Flour corn is another starchy type of corn but it has a soft shell rather than a hard one. Flour corn’s smooth surface and soft starches make it easy to grind into flour. In a moment, we will discuss what to do with corn flour.
Sweet corn is typically eaten on the cob but it can also be canned or frozen for later use. Sweet corn is rarely used as feed or flour. Sweet corn is sweeter than other types of corn because it contains more natural sugars.
Pod Corn is tainted corn, formed by a mutation of existing varieties. Small leaves called glumes grow around each kernel of pod corn, making it difficult to process and prepare for various corn applications.
What Is The Difference Between Popcorn And Corn?
Sweet corn, which is bred for its tender sweetness, is grown primarily for eating off the cob or canning and freezing. Unlike its counterpart, popcorn kernels showcase by a tough outer shell that protects a soft, starchy center. Popcorn is the white starchy mass formed when kernels explode and turn inside out. When the kernels of sweet corn are at their tenderest, they are harvested. Popcorn, on the other hand, is not harvested until the plant has turned brown.
All varieties of corn are members of the grass family. They are all cultivars of the same genus and species, Zea mays (this means they are biologically close, more like twins than sisters or brothers). Their main difference is the tightness of the pericarp. The pericarp in popcorn is so tight that as the kernel heats up and the moisture turns to steam, the steam is retained inside, and pressure is maintained.
Usually, popcorn needs to have a moisture content of between 13-15% to pop. If it has more moisture, the kernel will split and not pop into the fluffy goodness we enjoy. If there is not enough moisture, the kernel will not pop.
It is important to distinguish the difference between the types of corn since it is not possible to take just any corn varieties from the plant, pop it up on the stove, and get popcorn.
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