What makes popcorn pop?

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

What makes popcorn pop?

A popcorn kernel is actually a seed. At its center is a tiny plant embryo, a life form in its earliest phase. The embryo is surrounded by soft, starchy material that contains water. Surrounding the embryo is a hard shell. When the kernel is heated to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit, the water turns to steam. The pressure from the steam causes the kernel’s shell to explode and the starch to spill out. You have to add the butter!

Fact Monster/Information Please® Database, © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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