THE POPCORN JOURNEY – FROM THE SEED THROUGH TO A NUTRITIONAL SNACK
Popcorn is a cereal grain that has its origins from wild grass. It is made up of 3 main components. These are the endosperm, the germ and the pericarp. The endosperm is made up of both hard and soft granules. Its always white or yellow in its colour and is a carbohydrate. The starches function is to provide energy for he living part of the corn kernel, while the outer cap of the kernel is made up of cellulose. The outer hull of the kernel is usually white or yellow in colour, though with some varieties you can get a range of colours and patterns ranging from red, berry, black and everything in between.
In spring the farmers use a corn planter to place the popcorn seeds into the soil. Theses seeds are planted at a depth of 292mm and 152.4mm apart. Which means that is approximately 28,000 seeds in every acre. It takes around 7 to 10 days for the seed to germinate and emerge from the soil. With nutrients in the soil, moisture and sunshine the corn continues to grow adding more leaves and roots.
The corn will continue to grow to a height of approximately 243.8cm and needs around 18 to 24 inches of water during the growing season.
As the corn grows, it starts to grow ears of corn. These are covered with green husks to protect it. At the tip of the ears grows long strands that look a little like stands of hair. These catch the pollen and pollination occurs allowing the ears to produce kernels.
When the popcorn is mature and its leaves are dry and brown in colour and the kernels are hard, and the moisture content is exactly right, the popcorn can be harvested.
Once harvested and dried to the optimum moisture level, it is cleaned, to remove any particles from the corn. Next the corn is polished, eliminating any final plant materials from the crop. The kernels are then ready to be packaged ready for them to be popped and eaten.