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Q & A: pre-salted popcorn

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
My son is doing an experiment with popcorn. He soaked some of the kernels in salt water and some in plain water and some he left unsoaked. He found the kernels soaked in salt water to pop faster and left fewer unpopped. Do you know why? Thanks!
- Kathi (age 44)
Homeschool mom, TN
A:
No, we don't know.

It's a little surprising. Here's why.

The amount of water in the kernels should be least for the ones that weren't soaked and greatest for the ones soaked in pure water, at least if the salt doesn't get into the kernels and they have time to reach some equilibrium while they soak. So it would be surprising that the middle amount of water pops best, but it's not impossible.

Maybe the shell of the kernel does let salt in. If you rinse the kernels briefly before popping, do the ones soaked in saltwater taste salty?

Mike W.

(published on 10/22/2007)

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