Since popcorn can be tasty, I started to think if other kinds of food could be modified to explode when rapidly heated.

Corn explodes because of the water vapor pressure inside it finally exceeds the level that the hard and mostly moisture-impervious hull can take, causing it to rupture violently.

Is there any edible substance that could be used to coat other small pieces of food (say, pieces of apple) to achieve a similar effect?

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    What is your goal? Spectacle or delicious? Not sure if it fits your definition of "explode", but lots of foods can be puffed. Rice comes to mind, as does pork skin. As far as some type of edible coating, I find that doubtful both from a mechanical standpoint, and from the perspective of making the product better. For popcorn, while moisture is part of the mechanism, as you suggest, it is the specific variety of corn that makes it delicious, and the structure of a popcorn kernel that makes it work. I've had whole eggplants burst when grilling (iexplode), it doesn't make them better. – moscafj Aug 14 '16 at 21:01
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    Puffed rice is made in a variety of ways: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puffed_rice I expect other grains would fall to one of these methods as well. Apple might require a hard candy shell to make it susceptible to popping. It might well just blow itself to smithereens. – Wayfaring Stranger Aug 14 '16 at 23:22
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    The "Amish" market near me has a device that makes puffed cracker things ... I'm not sure what the process is, but you hear 'pop, pop, pop', as the disks come out. I suspect it's a high-pressure system like used in popchips – Joe Aug 14 '16 at 23:39
  • @WayfaringStranger Puffing rice yourself in a pan with a bit of hot oil works very fine. – Baard Kopperud Aug 15 '16 at 1:12
  • Sudden pressure changes might do the trick.... Sadly any way I can think of seems too dangerous to even mention. – Journeyman Geek Aug 15 '16 at 2:26

I bet you could explode number of vegetables with a waxy skin. Maybe a pumpkin. I bet you could explode a water melon.

Do NOT try this in your oven or microwave! If it works it would have lot of power. Try this out doors like in the middle of a fire pit like you would do a dutch oven.

Any food that has moisture and skin that is only slightly permeable to water vapor. And it would need to be a skin that does not break down at the boiling temperature of water. Will the skin survive long enough is the question.

No I am not going to try this. This answer is my engineering best guess.

Popcorn is the only thing that would explode in a manner that you could recover something useful that I can think of.

Kellogg's has puffed wheat and puffed rice cereals.

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    Given even something like an egg explodes in a manner that means you will not be eating said egg, you can probably extrapolate what sized foods will work. Of course egg shells are suppose to be pretty strong, so probably go with something grape sized. Maybe try to rig a grape to explode and see if you can eat the results. – Nelson Aug 15 '16 at 3:20

Puffed rice is exploded rice. It is made by shooting rice grains out of a cannon. The concept is to heat and pressurize the grain and then suddenly release the pressure, causing the grains to puff as the pressurized air inside the grains escapes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ku5l-RZpHpI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyJoqS__7O0

  • That's cool! I want one. – Jolenealaska Aug 15 '16 at 1:24
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    Indians have had puffed rice for ages, You wouldn't need a cannon. cannons do make everything better tho – Journeyman Geek Aug 15 '16 at 2:27
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    They cook it the using the same principle as the cannon - heat in a sealed vessel then suddenly release the pressure - resulting in a small explosion – jbalk Aug 15 '16 at 2:29
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    I have seen my grandmother making it. There was no business of pressure building up inside the pot because of the cover. She used an local clay pot with a smaller mouth (about 25-30 cm diameter) and the cover was just an old flat plate made of bamboo used for winnowing grains that does not help building any pressure in the vessel – Narayanan Unni Aug 15 '16 at 6:44
  • I ate it every morning for a large part of my childhood. Rice Crispies guys! – Drunken Code Monkey Aug 15 '16 at 12:34

The only thing that comes to mind is... an egg cooked in a microwave oven. No peeling, just an egg in the microwave. My father once tried this, and the results were hilarious.

To improve upon the edibility of the end product, you might try catching it in some sort of a bowl, preferably a strong one, since the explosion can be quite powerful (or so I hear). Depending on the hygiene level of your appliance, you might even scrape the end product out of it directly. I still wouldn't recommend it, though.

  • Bowl? A blast shield, more like :) People have managed mechanically damaging microwave ovens with bursting eggs. – rackandboneman Aug 15 '16 at 9:40
  • Hmm, that sounds alarming. :D I guess my father got lucky that time. Even though the interest in this culinary delight is academic at best, I'll edit the answer accordingly. – vodrilus Aug 15 '16 at 17:20

There are lots of grains/pseudo-grains that can be puffed (as popcorn is) including amaranth.

That being said not all will be pleasant (though puffed amaranth is nice)

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