Why Does Popcorn Not Pop ?  

Whenever popcorn is popped there will be some kernels that will not pop. These kernels are referred to as old maids. Definitely a strange name, but then you may ask why does popcorn not pop. There is actually a reason behind it.


The way the kernels are is the secret behind the corn popping. Basically the popcorn has a hard exterior, while the interior consists of starch and water. It is claimed that if a popcorn kernel has around 13.5 to 14 percent of water, will pop. Otherwise it does not pop. A popcorn kernel will also fail to pop if the exterior shell of the kernel is cracked or broken. Another reason for kernels not to pop is when they are old and do not contain sufficient amount of moisture. Usually, well-known brands of popcorn have just a 4 percent rate of failure, while ordinary cheap brands can have a failure rate of as much as 47 percent. If there are too many kernels that fail to pop, there is a risk of getting your tooth chipped on these kernels. So, be very careful when eating them.

If you have popcorn at home, remember to store the kernels in an airtight container. This will prevent the kernels from drying out and losing their moisture content. If the moisture content is lost, the kernels will not pop. If you want to hasten popping of the kernels, it is a good idea to agitate them. This ensures that the water in the kernels heat up quickly and help them to pop.

If you are left with kernels that are old and dry or that have not popped, you can actually increase their water content. Place the kernels into a jar. Fill around two-thirds of the jar and then add a spoon of water. Seal the jar tightly and shake it. Let the kernels stay in the jar for a few days, so that they get rehydrated. Then pop them as usual.

So, the age old mystery of why popcorn does not pop has now been solved. It is the lack of water content in the popcorn that stops it from popping. With a little bit of ingenuity and right storage you can easily get most of the kernels to pop. However, even then there will be some popcorn kernels that will refuse to pop. In such as case it is best to discard those kernels altogether because no matter what you do, they will not pop and just make you frustrated. Worse, you could end up chipping your tooth on trying to eat those kernels and end up facing a hefty dentist's bill.

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