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How Does Popcorn Pop?


If you're new to Opopop, get the Pop Cups Discovery Kit. It includes the ultimate microwave popcorn popper, plus three Pop Cups of each of our 4 flavors. It's the perfect 'popportunity' to find your new favorite healthy snacks!

Popcorn Is a Tasty Snack for Everyone

When you get the Pop Cups Discovery Kit, you'll have everything you need to take your friends or family on a great tasting adventure. With four different flavors and a total of 60 cups of delicious popcorn, it may be hard to drag them away. It's also a fantastic gift idea for just about anyone!

We Have Answers to More Corn-y Questions Like "How Does Popcorn Pop?"

We're very hands-on with our popcorn. We plant and nurture every seed from soil to popcorn perfection. You might say it's a labor of love for us — and you'd be right! If you'd like to know more about the Opopop experience, learn about our Flavor Wrapped Kernels or Peel + Pour Pop Cups. And don't forget to sign up for our rewards program for 'extra delicious' savings!

Have you ever wondered how a small, hard kernel of dried corn turns into such a soft, fluffy piece of flavorful perfection? Well, let's take a look at...

The Science Behind the Pop

Popcorn kernels have a unique balance between the amount of moisture inside (ideally 13.5-14%) and the exact thickness of the outer hull needed to hold everything together. Until it doesn't, of course!

What you're seeing when popcorn pops are the tiny explosions that occur when the moisture inside the hull builds up steam until the hull can't take the pressure anymore and bursts open into a tasty treat. A tiny popcorn kernel may swell by up to 40 or 50 times its original size before the hull gives way. 

There are four main types of corn (sweet, dent, flint, and popcorn) but only the popcorn variety has that perfect balance between moisture content and a hull that isn't too thick or tough to burst open. That's why other types of corn simply won't pop no matter how hard you try.

They may not have enough moisture inside to build up the amount of steam needed to create a mini-explosion. Or else the hull is so tough or hard that it refuses to give under the pressure. Or both!

What's Inside a Popcorn Kernel?

Biology and chemistry combine to create the ideal popcorn kernel. Then physics adds the perfect pop to the equation.

Popcorn is a whole grain comprised of three layers:

  • The germ is at the center of the kernel. It's the part that would become a new popcorn plant — if it didn't explode into popcorny goodness, that is.
  • The endosperm is a hard, starchy substance that surrounds the germ. It would soften, swell, and nourish the young seedling if the seed was planted. Instead, it explodes into the fluffy popcorn we all enjoy so much.
  • As we've seen, the transparent yellow hull (or pericarp) is the secret to perfectly popped popcorn. It acts as a pressure cooker for what's trapped inside. An intact hull is impervious to moisture, so it holds that essential bit of liquid safely inside until heat is applied.

So, how does popcorn pop? Well, having the right combination of layers is a great start. And then you need the rest of the equation...

Creating the Perfect Pop

As the temperature of a popcorn kernel increases, an amazing transformation takes place.

  • 212° As the kernel gets hotter, the water inside it begins to expand and turn to pressurized steam. That steam causes the rock-hard starch inside the endosperm to gelatinize. 
  • 347° The pressure inside the kernel reaches 135 pounds per square inch and the hull bursts open. The pressurized steam trapped inside immediately expands and causes the gelatinized starch to puff up. It bursts out of the kernel, rapidly cools, and turns into the tender, puffy goodness everyone adores.

And that answers the burning question, "how does popcorn pop," doesn't it?

How to Achieve the Perfect Flavor in Every Bite

Popcorn has an appealing texture and mild flavor on its own. But it can become so much more when you add the right popping technique and flavorful extra ingredients! First, let's take a look at the right technique for getting the best pop.

How Does Popcorn Pop the Best? 

First, start with the perfect microwave popcorn bowl. Next, add the perfect amount of healthy popcorn. It's easy when you use Peel + Pour Popcorn Cups. Just peel off the lid, pour the popcorn kernels into your bowl, pop out the flavor core, and heat. Each recyclable cup holds the perfect amount of kernels to satisfy those afternoon munchies or late-night cravings. They're also the perfect size to make healthy snacks for kids. 

The cups are available in four delicious, gluten-free, non-GMO flavors. Choose from Lightly Salted, Vanilla Vanilla, Like Buddahh, or Salty Caramel (Ooh, caramel popcorn? Yes, please!) Better yet, get all four gourmet popcorn flavors and satisfy everyone.