Do you like to taste popcorn while watching a movie at the cinema or at home? You can then use the corn yourself to make your own fairly balanced appetizers.

How does corn become popcorn?

The “pop” is a physico-chemical phenomenon of an incredible esthetics. The secret is simple, it’s the water it contains. The hard husk of the corn kernel contains a soft interior, made up of starch and water. If the grain is subjected to high heat, the water turns into steam, which expands. When the envelope can no longer withstand the pressure of the vapor, it bursts.

In those grains that appear dry, and even also in wheat, flour, rice, and many “dry” products around you, there is always water trapped in the structure of the food.

It is not water that leaves and moves easily – free water – but water that is trapped in the fibers. It is bound water. It can still represent 10-15 %% of the product.

The moisture of the flour is 15%, in the popcorn corn, approximately 14% water is measured.

When you make popcorn, you heat the corn a lot. You therefore provide energy to the water, which will be able to detach from the fibers, then pass to the state of vapor. It explodes like a bomb.

It was measured 9 bar of pressure before the explosion in these corn kernels, it is almost 10 times the atmospheric pressure, that is again about 2 times the pressure of a kitchen siphon.

A white popcorn texture

The white texture is a foam of starch, a corn kernel is mainly made up of starch, therefore carbohydrates. At temperature and under pressure, and with the injection of gas, which is nothing other than internal water which turns into vapor, the starch plasticizes, swells, and forms an expanded foam.
Popcorn is born.

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Why is there no pop-rice, pop-oats?

The grains of wheat, rice, also formed of a membrane, should also explode. Maize has a very rigid and thick shell, pericarp, which supports very strong pressure. This is the key to forming that expanded foam, containing enough pressure before cooking and simultaneously exploding!

Wheat, rice … can breathe a bit, but they will never increase in volume like corn does. Their pericarp is not strong enough.

Sesame seeds in a hot pan sauté a bit, but have nothing to do with a popcorn texture. Even in corn, there is a particular variety, with a thick non-pierced membrane, which allows you to make pretty popcorn.

Avoid industrial popcorn

In terms of food, we must distinguish popcorn from popcorn. Popcorn is just popping grains, essentially made up of starch, so around 65% carbohydrate and almost no fat.

Only, the purchased popcorn is popcorn in which fat, sugar or salt are added … and there it is rather 75% carbohydrates, including fast sugars, and up to 12% of lipids approximately.

For a given individual portion, for example, the calories drop from 130 to 250 for the industrial version, the one you nibble on in movie theaters or as an aperitif.

Homemade popcorn, pretty good

Lots of air, not that high in calories, admittedly carbohydrates, but like cooked corn, wheat or rice. You quickly get to satiety with all this volume ingested. The problem is really what you put on it. So do it yourself and make healthy appetizers or snacks.

At this point you can add powdered sugar, caramelize, and even add a little butter to make caramelized popcorn with salted butter … but you can also use this very nice texture to eat by sprinkling it moderately with icing sugar. , or very little salt for the salty version.

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Use spices to “compensate” for this apparent lack of salt or sugar. Cinnamon, ginger, vanilla for the sweet version. For the salty version there are many more choices: herbs, curry, cumin, paprika, etc…. What to have fun.

Popcorn flavored with different tastes!

Make the popcorn and place it in a bowl that you will have previously rubbed with garlic at the last minute, add chopped chives and you will also have your “garlic and herbs” version … but, homemade and without synthetic aromas.

Another version with a spray, spray lightly with soy sauce. Add a little ginger, sesame seeds etc… This will help to stick the spices. Iron for a few minutes in the oven, at 100 ° C rotating heat, to dry, and you obtain Asian spirit puffed aperitif cookies. It’s the same with vinegar and wasabi, etc… It becomes endless almost like granola!