History & Science of Savored Crisps - POPCORN

Popcorn, also known as popping corn, is a special variety of Maize (Zea mays everta)Wondering what is Maize? Maize, more commonly known in North America and elsewhere as corn, was first domesticated in Mexico about 8,000 years ago. The six major types of corn are popcorn, dent corn, flint corn, pod corn, flour corn, and sweet corn.

Corn cultivation was introduced in South America from Mexico, in two great waves: the first, 5000 years ago, spread through the Andes; the second, about 2000 years ago, through the lowlands of South America.

After European contact with the Americas in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, explorers and traders carried maize back to Europe and introduced it to other countries.

The word "corn" refers to any cereal crop, its meaning understood to vary geographically to either refer to the local staple or to maize in culinary contexts.

Now coming back to Popcorn variant.

78000BC

Archaeologists have found 80,000-year-old corn pollen below Mexico City. Because this pollen is almost exactly the same as modern popcorn pollen, researchers believe that "cave people" most likely had popcorn.

6000BC

Corn was first domesticated in Mexico though it was also used in China and India hundreds of years before Columbus reached the Americas.

4700BC

The oldest popcorn ever found was discovered in the "Bat Caves" of central New Mexico. In tombs in Peru, archaeologists found ancient kernels of popcorn that are so well preserved that they can still pop.

15th Century

Despite being arguably more famous for his role in colonising the Americas, Christopher Columbus was also the first person to bring popcorn to Europe.

19th Century

In America, it seemed that no meal couldn’t be improved with the addition of popcorn. From nutritious breakfast cereals and hearty porridges to cakes and puddings, Americans simply couldn’t get enough of the stuff. In 1885 at Chicago, inventor Charles Cretors dazzled hungry bystanders with the first ever commercial popcorn machine.

20th Century

The era when popcorn became synonymous with cinema.

2016

Palomitas Popcorn Stores

A family of popcorn enthusiasts has come together to deliver top notch batches of hand-crafted bliss in the form of gourmet popcorn with every kernel baked to perfection.

Corn comes in various forms such as popcorn, flour corn, sweet corn etc. But the only variant that pops and we all love so much is popcorn, making it the undisputed king of corn.

Wondering how popcorn pops?

Inside each kernel of popcorn is a tiny droplet of water surrounded by a hard shell called a hull. The basic journey of hard kernel to fluffy morsel is straightforward. Heat causes water inside the kernel's starchy interior to boil, building up pressure until the vapor bursts through the shell.

The pressure continues to increase until the breaking point of the hull is reached: a pressure of about 135 psi (930 kPa) and a temperature of 180 °C (356 °F).

With high-speed cameras in hand, a research team discovered something new: starch inside heated kernels first forms a leg-like appendage. After the leg comes into contact with the bottom of a pan or bag, it compresses and releases like a spring, vaulting the kernel into the air and causing it to somersault.

The researchers also monitored the motions of the classic snack with supersensitive microphones and found that the characteristic “pop” sound typically occurs about 100 milliseconds after the kernel cracks open. Thus, the kernel's splitting is not the source of the sound. The researchers suspect instead that the pockets of heated water vapor within cause the noise as they burst through their starchy cages.

What constitutes Popcorn?

Popcorn is a whole grain. It is made up of three components: the germ, endosperm, and pericarp (also know as the hull). Compared to most snack foods,popcorn is low in calories. Air-popped popcorn has only 30 calories per cup. Oil-popped is about 35 per cup. Popcorn needs between 13.5-14% moisture to pop.

At Palomitas Popcorn Stores, we only Air pop!

There is no such thing as “hull-less” as popcorn needs a hull in order to pop. Some varieties of popcorn have been bred so that the hull shatters upon popping, making it appear to be hull-less.

Most popcorn comes in two basic shapes when it's popped: butterfly and mushroom.

Butterfly popcorn has an irregular shape and many jutting “wings”. Mushroom popcorn is rounder and has a more uniform shape. Mushroom needs a higher temperature and will usually take longer to pop. We love both but because of Mushrooms slightly larger surface area, its often favored for sticky toppings.

What does air popped mean?

Air Popped popcorn is awesome. You know that awesome smell you get when you walk into a movie theater? We love the smell too, but that alluring scent is actually the smell of the oils in which the popcorn is popped heating up. Sure it smells good, but it’s not exactly great for you.

Air popping basically means we pop our popcorn in a special popper and the only thing that is in our popper when the corn is being popped is popcorn. That means that when the popped kernels come out of our big popcorn popper the only thing that is there is real popcorn. It’s not saturated in that partially hydrogenated popping oil you may be used to.

Air popped popcorn creates a higher quality popcorn kernel that can absorb as much of the awesome ingredients we use to flavor our popcorn as possible. It’s a lighter, more delicate popcorn that won’t give you that feeling you get when you eat foods that are saturated in oil. So you can eat more and enjoy more. We would never say it’s a health food because of the indulgent coatings, but the fact that our popcorn starts off without being covered in oil makes it healthier than the alternative.

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