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What Makes Popcorn Pop?

Virtually everyone loves to eat popcorn, the aroma of a well made popcorn could make you keep asking for more. Popcorn is arguably the most consumed snack in the world, no wonder Americans regularly consume as much as 18 billion quarts of popcorn yearly. Reports have shown that popcorn is low in fat and are a good source of fibre and whole grain

Iowa and Illinois, USA., are the two leading farmers of corns in the corn belt states (they include Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Nebraska, and Missouri), and sold to most of the popcorn producers throughout the world

The popcorn kernel can be categorized both as a cereal and a grain, popcorn is generally bred to give desired qualities such as color, strength of stalk, and popping adaptability, and in shapes such as rice and pearl.

There used to be a tale about the popping of the popcorn, it is said that there was a kind of spirit living inside the kernel and that when the kernel is heated, the spirit gets provoked and angry and brakes out of its ‘home’ and the kernel forms a popcorn, funny, right?, But there’s a more scientific explanation as to how popcorns pop, the mechanism combines several different fields of study, including Acoustics, Thermodynamics, and Biomechanics.

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Understanding the Popcorn Kernel

In order to fully understand the mechanism behind the popping off a popcorn kernel when heated, we shall first familiarize ourselves with kernel itself and it’s different components.

  • The Pericarp: The Pericarp of the popcorn kernel is its outermost layer, it is usually very hard and often transparent, it comes in different colors including white, yellow, black, and red, depending on the breed of the corn. The Pericarp is especially important in the popping mechanism is the popcorn it is impervious to moisture and helps to trap pressure long enough inside the kernel
  • The Endosperm: The Endosperm is the next inner layer of the corn and it basically houses a fluid (water) along with soft and hard starch granules.
  • The Germ: The Germ is a tiny and apparently simple structure and the innermost layer of the kernel, from which new tissues can develop when the corn is propagated for “germ”ination.

 

So why does it pop?

Unlike all other six corn family, popping corn is the only corn that pops. Popcorns can be popped using hot air or hot oil, but hot air is mostly employed in the microwave to pop the kernels.

The mechanism is pretty easy, when a popcorn kernel is heated to about 100 degree Crapped water in the Endosperm boils enough and begins to transform into steam. The pressurized environment inside the kernel makes the soft and hard starch granules turn gelatinous, the steam then builds up enough pressure to break open the Pericarp, the Pericarp breaks open when the steam reaches a pressure of about 135 psi (930 kPa) with temperature close to 180 degrees Celsius making the pressurized vapor to force it’s way out of the kernel. This reveals the white gelatinous starch that turns solid upon cooling. A popcorn kernel can pop to 50 times it’s original size when subjected proper great.

The pressured stream inside the kernel is released almost instantaneously, exposing the starch and protein inside the kernel.  This cools down quickly enough to give our delicious, nutritious popcorn.

There are situations when the kernel doesn’t pop when subjected to heat, this is because the heat is not intense enough and the supposedly trapped heat escaped via the tip of the kernel. Conversely, if the kernel is heated too quickly with more than sufficient heat, the kernel will pop too quickly while the soft and hard starch in the Pericarp haven’t had enough time to gelatinize and form the white part of the popcorn, this in turn makes the centre of the popcorn to be considerably harder.

As opposed to many beliefs, the popping sound of popcorn doesn’t come from the cracking of the Pericarp, Instead, the sound is produced as a result of the pressurized vapor release after the Pericarp is broken.

And that’s it, the next time you’re sitting with your friend(s) or family at the movies, a game, or at the television, and they wonder what actually makes popcorns pop, enjoy being proud as you explain to the science behind popcorns popping

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What’s So Great About Cooking?

While there is one sector that adores cooking, the rest takes cooking for granted. They consider cooking just as another activity. So for all those great legends out there who love eating but not cooking, here are some reasons to prove why cooking is great and why you have always been wrong.

Cooking

Makes you feel more human:

I would call cooking as an act of love. Undeniably the first thing that comes to our mind the minute we hear the word food is ‘mom.’ Moms are so associated with cooking and food. Food is also considered as the biggest acts of charity that you can ever make. It is a part of every culture and ethnicity to bring in food as a significant part of hospitality. This is the reason why cooking makes you feel more human. The culture that we have incorporated with food reminds us that we have evolved a lot from what we were as early men.

Cooking is one definition of culture:

Stepping out of the house, if you have to focus on cooking at a larger perspective, the first thing that comes to our mind is our food habits define our culture. It is, in fact, one of the significant identifications of who we are and where we belong. If you get a little deeper, food habits can even exhibit the nature of individuals who inhabit a particular place. This is the reason we call food as one of the factors that define culture.

You become more health conscious:

Have you ever wondered as to why most of your girlfriends are food freaks while almost all moms are food conscious? Do not worry, when these girls grow up to be moms they will become food conscious as well. This is because when girls learn to cook, they become pretty much obsessed with the act. They prefer home-made food over other dishes. Some even go to the extent of quitting instant food culture. They also understand the consequences of eating out only when they begin to cook. This is the reason why most people who have learned cooking prefer home food and wish other had the same habit as well.

You are more independent:

If you are pretty decent when it comes to cooking, you are more independent than anybody else. Most youngsters find it difficult to relocate or stay away from family because they cannot cook for themselves. Dining outside is not always a possible solution. Thereby it is important that youngsters have some basic skills in cooking. You can take better care of yourself. Isn’t that great?

Cooking is fun:

Last but not least, the greatest thing about cooking is, it is fun. If you love cooking you can simply enjoy what you are doing. Most homemakers prefer to learn a wide range of cuisines only because they find it more engaging. So learn to cook because it is fun. Do you need a better reason?

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Medicinal Values of Turmeric

Turmeric is one of the best medicinal plants you can find in this world. The Indian cuisine has turmeric added to it in almost every food dishes. Turmeric has a bitter taste and is used in food to add color to the dish. The curcumin found in the turmeric is said to have the therapeutic effects such as wound healing, skin diseases, digestive disorders, liver problems, heartburn, stomach pain, etc. Most of us don’t even know that turmeric has so many medicinal values and avoid using it on a daily basis.

turmeric

The following are some of the medicinal values of Turmeric:

  • Digestive Disorders.
  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • Menstrual problems.
  • Liver Diseases.
  • Atherosclerosis.

Digestive Disorders:

Turmeric has one of the best solutions for bloating up of the stomach, formation of gas and other digestive disorders. Turmeric stimulates bile production in the liver and also helps extraction of bile via the gallbladder. Turmeric is usually added to dishes that contain fats as it helps our body to digest fats.  Many people suffer from improper digestion, and it can be solved by including turmeric in their food.

Anti-inflammatory:

One of the best values of turmeric is its Anti-inflammatory feature. People grind the turmeric into a powder and mix it with water and apply on their skin to kill the germs on the skin. It is one of the best ways to prevent or reduce pimples and other marks on the face and other parts of the body. People use turmeric powder to meat to kill all the germs in the meat. While the meat is being washed, some turmeric powder is added to the meat to make sure that the meat is clean without any germs.

Menstrual problems:

There are many women these days who suffer from menstrual problems. Many women do not undergo a periodic cycle. It is irregular for many and some it does not even occur. For some, the cramps can be very severe. Turmeric can reduce the pain as it is an antispasmodic to smooth muscles. Turmeric might not fully reduce the pain as it is natural to have menstrual cramps but turmeric can considerably reduce the cramps women have to face while having their period.

 Liver Diseases:

Turmeric influences the liver, and thus it is quite beneficial. Turmeric has the same component that milk thistle and artichoke leaves contain, it is a protective compound, and the compound protects the liver and shrinks the hepatic ducts. Thus turmeric is used when people have hepatitis, cirrhosis, and jaundice.

Atherosclerosis:

Many people suffer from heart blockage and attack. Turmeric is helpful in preventing such blockage and slowly prevents heart attacks. Turmeric also lowers the cholesterol level, and turmeric also prevents the formation of platelets in the walls of the injured blood vessels. These platelets may cause blood clots and block the artery.

Thus, turmeric should not be ignored, even if you do not want to consume it directly, you can add it in your food and improve your health conditions.

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