Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Vacuum assisted Popcorn maker

Silent Popcorn
  [vote for,

This general notion has already been alluded to numerous times in the HB (see links) but as far as I can tell never actually posted in its own right. I am now going to rectify this serious oversight. Also, some of the previous postings also seem a tad impractical - yes, I'm looking at you [swimswim]. I must also give nods of appreciation and inspiration to [Gordon Comstock] and the steamed [MaxwellBuchanan] for their postings on nut cracking devices.

Anyway, my idea is to simply alter the garden-variety bell jar and vacuum pump device found in every kitchen by adding a heating element into the base as well as a bit of Teflon for nonstickiness. Place your popcorn kernels into the device, evacuate the air from the chamber then activate the heater. As the pressure differential builds the kernel will burst or 'pop' in the normal manner but now the resultant delicacy will not emerge into the usual glutinous miasma of our atmosphere but instead will find its goodness released into the non-restrictive embrace of vacuum. The ensuing fluffy snack will be a glorious hybrid of puffed corn and popped corn and will be much fluffier and highbrow than its lower-class, workaday cousins.

An added benefit will be an enormous reduction in those pesky 'popping' sounds which have bedeviled popcorn-makers and the surrounding community since Time Immemorial, forcing popcorn aficionados and merchants to ply their craft far from the screen of the cinema or flat screen tv. Further enhancements may include inbuilt stirring devices and so forth but the higher cubic yields per kernel and improved monetary value obtainable by this delectable product, combined with the ability to manufacture it in near silence - hence closer to the main markets of cinema screens and so on - will quickly recoup any additional expenditures.

All that is lacking is a really good marketing name. 'Popffed corn' or 'puffped corn' just don't do it for me. 'Cornucopia' isn't bad but I think it can be improved upon.

AusCan531, Mar 06 2012

Similar idea but somewhat impractical in the home or cinema Popcornado
[AusCan531, Mar 06 2012]

Vacuum assisted food technology Hypobaric_20Nutcracker
[AusCan531, Mar 06 2012]

More nut-cracking brilliance Self-shelling_20nuts
[AusCan531, Mar 06 2012]

Same words - but just plain 'wrong' Popcorn_20Vacuum
[AusCan531, Mar 06 2012]

Barely related... PSA_3a_20Popcorn_20Security_20Alarm
[normzone, Mar 08 2012]

Video - Popping Corn in a Vacuum https://youtu.be/aiMseDBTp7s?t=1m05s
It works (though not silently)! [aguydude, Feb 07 2017]


       Alternate title: "Silent popcorn"
mouseposture, Mar 06 2012

       When this was first posted, I was sure I'd seen a video of popcorn being made via vacuum chamber, but I can't find it anywhere. Alas, I often have trouble telling the difference between my memories and my imagination.
Alterother, Mar 08 2012

       You could call it Krest Korn, after the Bond baddie.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 10 2012

       In space, no one can hear you pop.   

Alterother, Mar 10 2012

       Good one [2Fries].   

       Does anyone know if butter would melt at a lower temperature if in a vacuum? I know the boiling temp of its liquid components would be lowered, but can't picture it liquefying just because the pressure drops.
AusCan531, Mar 10 2012

       It's unlikely to melt, but it might. Most liquids contract slightly on freezing (water being a convenient exception) and, conversely, putting them under vacuum "tries" to expand them, nudging them towards melting.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 10 2012

       //It's unlikely to melt, but it might//. Ummmm, thanks.   

       Butter is a solid, water in oil emulsion and the water component at least would begin to to boil at room temp as the pressure drops. That may well de-emulsify the stuff but I don't believe it would turn into a liquid emulsion which is what we want. This might be a case requiring empirical research.   

       Personally, I've never been able to visualize water simultaneously boiling and freezing if ejected into outer space. That speaks to my inadequacies of visualization, I guess, but do you end up with ice foam before it all sublimates away?
AusCan531, Mar 10 2012

       hmm.... instead of heating it, which I see as a problem since the only contact surface with the heat is a small portion of a kernel, why not have it in a vacuum canister... then shake the canister, bouncing kernels off the sides, until they all pop.   

       I wonder if it's possible to infuse air with butter and salt: after the kernels are popped, the seasoning concoction is slowly allowed into the chamber.
FlyingToaster, Mar 11 2012

       Quite right, [toaster]; you basically can't make popcorn by heating the kernels in one spot. That's why microwaves, a pan with lots of oil, and hot air all work (and the first 2 of these could be used with a vacuum), but a dry pan does not.
spidermother, Mar 11 2012

       //the only contact surface with the heat is a small portion of a kernel// The bottom of the pan could have kernel-sized dimples to increase surface contact area. Add a bit of vibration to stir them around and you're set. Although a bit of oil would probably be easier as long as it doesn't boil away in the vacuum.
AusCan531, Mar 11 2012

       [+] I was wondering how you were going to get out of that one... nice.
FlyingToaster, Mar 11 2012

       I don't think the dimples will work, on the grounds that oil only works well when it's nearly deep enough to cover the kernels.   

       Oil almost certainly won't boil away in a vacuum within the necessary 15 minutes or so, especially if you use a less volatile oil, such as coconut (which happens to make superb popcorn). An added advantage of the vacuum is that it would reduce oxidation (= rancidity) of the oil; a real issue when oil is heated with a large surface area exposed to the atmosphere, even for a short time.
spidermother, Mar 11 2012

       //I don't think the dimples will work//. Yeah, that's what they told Shirley Temple too.
AusCan531, Mar 11 2012

       In fact, she said they would, but was told "Temple you jest".
spidermother, Mar 11 2012

       Surely not?
AusCan531, Mar 11 2012

       The reduction in popping sounds is overshadowed by the noisiness of the vacuum chamber's motor. Might be solvable be a Rube-Goldberg system of tubes, but overall I'd say only the fluffiness benefit is worthwhile.
aguydude, Feb 07 2017

       //overshadowed by the noisiness of the vacuum chamber's motor.//   

       Ah, but simply encase the vacuum chamber motor in a bit of leftover vacuum from the previous session. Golden Popcorn, Golden Silence.
AusCan531, Feb 07 2017

       In space, no one can hear you pop.
spidermother, Feb 21 2017

       Since "pop" is a noise, then shouldn't it be called "_"corn?
Ling, Feb 21 2017

       It's also a great meme media, beware it's viral capabilities. Earworms are readily transmissible.
normzone, Feb 21 2017


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