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What Makes Popcorn Pop?



What Makes Popcorn Pop?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.25

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    retro-looking, tinfoil, best, heated, withstand, popper, explanation, outer, airtight, contents, instantly, opening, works, content, mysterious, quality
     content words:    Jiffy Pop


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What Makes Popcorn Pop?
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     What makes popcorn pop? Popcorn is an unusual food, but the answer to what makes it pop is not mysterious at all. The scientific explanation is simple, and the details might even help you decide how to pop the best bowl of big fluffy popcorn kernels that you have ever snacked on.
 
2     Making popcorn starts with growing the right kind of corn. Popcorn is different from the sweet corn that you eat as corn-on-the-cob. The popcorn kernel consists of a hard outer shell with starch and water inside. Good popping corn must have a thick rounded shell and the right moisture content. It grows best in sunny fields. The fields must have good drainage and be watered when they dry out. The popcorn plants take from about ninety to about one hundred twenty days to grow. When the kernels are hard and the husks are dry, it is time for the harvest.
 
3     Then the kernels continue to dry either on or off the cob until they reach the right moisture content, which is from eleven to fourteen percent. Popcorn companies can easily test the moisture content by weighing the popcorn, since popcorn with more moisture weighs more.

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