Corn is an incredibly versatile cereal that offers immense variety. Popcorn is one of the most popular forms of corn, making it a favorite snack for millions in the United States and worldwide.
Scientists and farmers have discovered a wide variety of corn. However, many people often get confused about the different types of corn. For instance, is popcorn sweetcorn? What is the difference between popcorn and regular corn?
Is Popcorn the Same as Sweetcorn?
Popcorn is not the same as sweet corn. Rather, it is a special variety of corn called Zea mays everta and is the only variety of corn that pops when heated.
On the other hand, sweetcorn is a delicious type of corn that has a sweet taste. This is because it is harvested quite early when the sugar content in the seed is high, giving the corn a characteristic sweet taste.
According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, sweet corn is the second-largest produced crop in terms of production and value. The majority of sweet corn production occurs in the upper Midwest and the Pacific Northwest.
What Are the Types of Corn?
Many people are unaware of the fact that there are different types of corn that have different characteristics. An article published by the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences outlines six main types of corn, namely:
- Flint Corn: These are the colorful varieties of corn often used decoratively.
- Sweet corn: This is the sweet variety of corn that can be eaten on the cob.
- Pod corn: This is the oldest variety of wild corn which eventually gave rise to the other types of corn.
- Dent corn: This is the corn grown in most fields in the United States. Furthermore, it forms a small dent at the crown of each kernel.
- Flour corn: This is a variety of corn with soft starch that is easy to grind. Corn flour is an amazing ingredient for making bread, biscuits, waffles, and even pancakes.
- Popcorn: This is the Zea mays everta variety that is made up of a rigid moisture-sealed hull with a soft starchy interior that expands when heated. Popcorn is the only variety of corn that pops when heated.
So we now understand that popcorn is not sweet corn. They are completely different varieties with different features and uses.
What Is the Difference Between Popcorn and Corn?
Popcorn is a unique variety of corn that pops when heated. This is the main characteristic feature that differentiates it from other types of corn. In addition, popcorn is different from other forms of corn in terms of appearance, harvesting, method of preparation, and consumption.
For more info on corn vs popcorn, check our full guide.
Why Is Popcorn the Only Form of Corn That Pops?
Zea mays everta variety is the only variety of corn that pops because it has a hard shell on the outside and a soft, starchy, slightly moist interior on the inside. When this moisture gets heated, it becomes converted to steam, which exerts a high amount of pressure on the hull of the popcorn kernel.
In addition, the starch begins to expand rapidly, exerting even more pressure, which eventually leads to the rupture of the hard outer shell with a characteristic ‘pop’ sound. Here are some other key differences between popcorn and other types of corn:
Moisture Content During Harvesting
Popcorn needs to have a moisture content of below 25% during harvest, or else it will not pop when heated. On the other hand, other types of corn, such as sweetcorn, have a higher moisture content during harvest.
This makes sure that they keep their high sugar content, which gives them their typical sweetness.
Structure and Texture of the Seed
Popcorn has a very hard outer shell, which makes it virtually impossible for anyone to chew raw popcorn kernels without breaking a tooth. On the other hand, other types of corn tend to have softer outer shells.
This makes them suitable for boiling or roasting over a fire. The hard outer shell also makes popcorn kernels a potential choking hazard.
Method of Preparation
Flour corn is an ingredient that makes pastries or stews, while sweet corn can be boiled or eaten directly off the cob. On the other hand, popcorn cannot be boiled or eaten raw. The only way to consume popcorn is by heating the kernels until they pop.
After that, you can add different toppings and flavors to popcorn to make it taste better.
Can I Make Popcorn From Fresh Corn?
Yes, you can make popcorn from fresh corn off the cob. This is a fun and creative way to make popcorn. All you need is a fresh popcorn cob, a source of heat, and your favorite popcorn toppings.
Are you looking for a new homemade popcorn recipe? Well, you will be excited to know that you can make popcorn off the cob in a few quick and easy steps.
Here is what you will need:
- Brown paper bag
- Popcorn Cob
- Coat the popcorn cob with butter.
- Place the cob in a brown bag and seal it securely.
- Place the brown bag in a microwave for three minutes until the popping stops.
- Remove the paper bag and allow it to cool.
- Sprinkle the popped kernels with your favorite popcorn toppings and flavors. Enjoy!
When making popcorn off the cob, it is important to make sure that you purchase the right kind of corn, which sometimes comes packaged in its own microwavable bag. In addition, you should always wear oven mitts when removing the paper bag from the microwave since it is usually quite hot.
The Amazing Diversity Of Corn
Corn is an amazingly versatile crop that comes in six different varieties. This amazing diversity creates endless possibilities when it comes to different corn recipes and combinations. For instance, you can use sweet popcorn toppings such as caramel or sprinkles.
So, if you have been wondering whether popcorn is sweetcorn, be sure to check out some amazing sweet popcorn recipes to see how to combine the sweetness of sweetcorn with the crunchiness of popcorn.