Popcorn is most probably the first thing that comes to our minds whenever we think about a snack while watching movies or carnivals, it is the perfect snack because it is easily made, delicious and also efficiently nutritious compared to other popular snacks. We tend to crave popcorn even when we watch television or movies at home and we can make popcorn at home by simply using a stove. Stovetop popcorn is absolutely easy to make but the problem is that it becomes chewy.
What makes it become chewy?
The crunchiness of popcorn is what accentuates the feeling of satisfaction every time we take a munch. The ultimate reason why the stovetop popcorn gets chewy is because of the steam that gets trapped, when steam is trapped in the pot while the kernels are popping, it causes the popcorn to become stringy. A small amount of water is contained within a circle of floury and soft cornstarch in each popcorn kernel. The water boils and increases as the kernel warms up, exerting pressure on the firm starch surface. After some time t, his outer surface gradually dissolves, causing the popcorn to blow up and pop. The mushy cornstarch within the popcorn now expands and explodes, which makes the kernel turn inside out producing steam. If the pan or pot is not sufficiently ventilated, it can create excess moisture inside.
If you take a long time to eat your popcorn, it will become chewy and stringy. Popcorn tastes the finest right after it has been popped. The longer popcorn is left unconsumed, the more it sucks up the moisture from the air. Another reason why the popcorn becomes rubbery might be because of the usage of too much oil while preparing it. It is critical to evenly heat the kernels irrespective of how we pop our popcorn. If the heat is very high and if you don’t shake or toss the pan frequently enough, the kernels will become still, and one half of the kernel will burn. As a result, the kernel might pop too soon or not at all. However, if we heat the kernels very slowly, the moisture will escape, causing the popcorn starch to overcook and taste chewy.
How can you fix this?
1. Release the trapped steam out
When preparing popcorn, releasing the trapped steam out is the most important step to stop it from getting chewy. Irrespective of what you make your popcorn with, be it stovetop or a popper just keep in mind to check if it is sufficiently ventilated so that it allows the steam from the popped kernels to escape. In case you are using a lidded pot, it is best to keep the lid slightly open in order to get the steam out.
2. Minimum Oil Usage
To prevent your popcorn from becoming too chewy, it is better to use one tablespoon of oil for every quarter cup of kernels.
3. Frequent shaking and stirring
Keep in mind to toss and jiggle your popcorn pot frequently in order to move the kernels and distribute the heat uniformly.
4. Not leaving it open for a long time
Prepare your popcorn right before you are ready to eat it, don’t leave it open for a longer time.
5. Proper storage
Popcorn kernels should be stored in a firmly closed container or packet and must be kept in a cold and dry place. You should not keep the popcorn container uncovered, and also never keep it in the fridge or freezer, or a damp basement.