What You Need to Know About Corn
What is Corn?
Corn, also known as maize, is a cereal plant that is part of the grass family. It is grown throughout the world and is a major food source for both humans and livestock. Corn can also be used to create biofuel. The plant originated in the Americas and was domesticated by Native Americans. It is now one of the most widely distributed food crops in the world. Corn is a relatively easy crop to grow, and it is tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions. The ears of corn are the edible part of the plant and can be eaten fresh, frozen, or canned. The kernels can also be ground into cornmeal or used to make cornstarch. Corn oil is also extracted from the kernels and is used in a variety of products, including cooking oil, margarine, and salad dressings.
So, What is Corn a Fruit, Vegetable, or Grain?
According to botany, corn is a fruit. The corn plant produces it from its flower or ovary.
In particular, corn is classified as a caryopsis, (caryopsis: a small one-seeded dry indehiscent (pod or fruit that does not split open to release the seeds when ripe.) fruit (as related to corn or wheat) in which the fruit and seed fuse in a single grain) consisting of a single seed pod (kernel) and flesh. Wheat is another example of an edible caryopsis, and indeed caryopses are commonly known as grains.
Additionally, corn can be classified as either a grain or a vegetable depending on the time of harvest. The maturity level of corn at harvest affects both its use at meals and its nutritional value. Harvested corn that is fully mature and dry is considered a grain. It can be milled into cornmeal and used in such foods as corn tortillas and cornbread. Popcorn is also harvested when mature and is considered to be a whole grain.
Corn that is fresh (e.g., corn on the cob, frozen corn kernels) is harvested when it is soft and the kernels are full of liquid as fresh corn is considered a starchy vegetable. Its nutrient content differs from dry corn, and it is eaten in a variety of ways, often on the cob, mixed with other vegetables, or as a side dish.
What is the history of Corn? Where did it come from?
Corn is a cereal grain that is the most important crop in the United States, after wheat. Corn was first domesticated by Native Americans about 8,000 years ago. It is believed to have originated in Mexico. The Aztecs and Mayans used corn to make tortillas, while the Incas made a sweet drink called chicha from it. Corn was introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus in 1493. It quickly became a staple food there as well. Today, corn is grown all over the world.
The word “corn” comes from the Old English word “cearn,” which means “grain.” The word “corn” is used in the United Kingdom to refer to wheat. In the United States, “corn” refers to maize. Maize is a type of grass that is native to the Americas. It was first domesticated by Native Americans about 8,000 years ago.
There are two types of corn: sweet corn and field corn. Sweet corn is the type that people eat as a vegetable. It is harvested when the kernels are still soft. Field corn is harvested when the kernels are dry. It is used to make animal feed, ethanol, and corn syrup.
Corn is a very versatile crop. It can be used to make many different products, including food, animal feed, and fuel. Corn is also used in industry. It is a major component of many products, such as adhesives, plastics, and paint. According to the National Corn Growers Association over 65% of corn is grown either as animal feed (33%) or as biofuel (34%). Corn and its derivatives are also used as sweetening ingredients in numerous products and function as components of cosmetics, ink, glue, laundry starch, medicines, and fabrics.
Varieties of Corn
1. Sweet Corn
Sweet corn is the most popular variety of corn in the United States. It is typically eaten as a vegetable, either cooked on the cob or cut off the cob and used in salads or other dishes. Sweet corn is also used to make corn syrup and other sweeteners.
2. Field Corn
Field corn is the second most popular variety of corn in the United States. It is used primarily for animal feed, but it can also be used to make cornmeal, cornstarch, and other products.
3. Flint Corn
Flint corn is a type of field corn that is native to North America. It was once a staple food of Native Americans and is still grown by some tribes today. Flint corn can be used to make cornmeal, hominy, and other foods.
4. Dent Corn
Dent corn is another type of field corn that is commonly used for animal feed and to make ethanol fuel. It gets its name from the dent that forms in the center of the kernel when it dries.
5. Pod Corn
Pod corn is a type of flint corn that is native to Central America. It was once a staple food of the Aztecs and Mayans and is still grown in some areas today. Pod corn can be used to make tortillas, tamales, and other dishes.
6. Sweet White Corn
Sweet white corn is a type of sweetcorn that has white kernels. It is less sweet than traditional sweetcorn, but it still has a delicious flavor. Sweet white corn can be eaten on the cob or cut off the cob and used in salads or other dishes.
7 . Bi-Colored Corn
Bi-colored corn is a type of sweetcorn that has both white and yellow kernels. It is slightly sweeter than traditional sweetcorn, but it still has a delicious flavor. Bi-colored corn can be eaten on the cob or cut off the cob and used in salads or other dishes
What are the Claimed Health Benefits of Corn
Corn is a whole grain that is packed with fiber, which can help regulate digestion and blood sugar levels. It also contains antioxidants and B vitamins, which are essential for energy production and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Additionally, corn is a good source of thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B6. All of these nutrients work together to promote heart health by reducing the risk of conditions like hypertension and stroke, as well as helping to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Corn is also a good source of fiber, which can help with weight loss by making you feel fuller and longer and helping to reduce cravings. Additionally, fiber helps to regulate blood sugar levels, which can be helpful for people with diabetes. Corn is also a good source of resistant starch, which is a type of fiber that has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including improving insulin sensitivity, lowering blood sugar levels, and reducing the risk of colon cancer.
While corn is a nutritious whole grain, it is important to remember that it is also a high-carbohydrate food. This means that it should be consumed in moderation, especially if you are trying to lose weight or control blood sugar levels. Additionally, corn is a common allergen, so be sure to check with your doctor before adding it to your diet.
List the Micronutrients and Macronutrients of Corn
Corn is mostly composed of carbohydrates, but it also contains small amounts of protein and fat. One ear of corn contains about 15 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fat.
1. Water: Corn is made up of about 80% water.
2. Protein: Corn contains about 10% protein.
3. Lipids: Corn contains about 2% lipids.
4. Carbohydrates: Corn contains about 65% carbohydrates.
5. Fiber: Corn contains about 3% fiber.
6. Vitamins: Corn is a good source of vitamins A, B, and C.
7. Minerals: Corn is a good source of minerals such as iron, magnesium, and potassium.
8. Phytochemicals: Corn contains phytochemicals that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
9. Antioxidants: Corn contains antioxidants that can help to protect the body against disease.
10. Anti-Inflammatory Compounds: The phytochemicals in corn can also help to reduce inflammation in the body.
11. Cancer-Fighting Compounds: Some of the antioxidants found in corn have been shown to fight cancer cells.
Tips on how to select Corn
1. Look for plump, full kernels that are evenly distributed throughout the ear of corn.
2. Avoid ears of corn that have shriveled kernels or that are missing kernels altogether.
3. Make sure the ear of corn is firmly attached to the cob.
4. The husks should be green and fresh-looking, not brown or dried out.
5. Gently pull back the husks to check for insects or damage.
6. The kernels should be plump and juicy, not dried out or shrunken.
7. Avoid ears of corn that have kernels that are discolored or have spots on them.
8. If you can, smell the ear of corn to make sure it smells fresh.
9. Ask the farmer or vendor when the corn was picked, and try to select ears that were picked within the last day or two.
Tips on how to store Corn
1. Store in a cool, dry place
Corn should be stored in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry or cupboard. Avoid storing corn in the fridge, as this can cause the kernels to become tough.
2. Place in an airtight container
To keep corn fresh for longer, place it in an airtight container. This will help to prevent the kernels from drying out and becoming tough.
3. Use within 2-3 days
For the best quality, use corn within 2-3 days of storing it. After this time, the kernels may begin to lose their sweetness and become tough.
4. Freeze for longer storage
If you need to store corn for longer than a few days, you can freeze it. To freeze corn, blanch the kernels in boiling water for 3 minutes then cool them quickly in ice water. Once cooled, drain the kernels and place them in a freezer bag. Frozen corn will keep for up to 6 months.
5. Do not thaw before cooking
When you are ready to use frozen corn, do not thaw it first. Simply add the frozen kernels directly to whatever dish you are preparing.
Tips on how to prepare Corn
1. Start with fresh corn. Look for ears that are bright yellow and have green, moist husks. Avoid corn that has brown or dried-out husks.
2. Husk the corn and remove the silks. To do this, simply peel back the husks and remove the silks with your fingers or a brush.
3. Rinse the corn under cold water to remove any dirt or debris.
4. Cut the corn off the cob. You can do this by holding the ear of corn in one hand and using a sharp knife to cut the kernels off in a downward motion. Alternatively, you can use a special tool called a corn stripper.
5. Place the kernels in a bowl or container.
6. Add your desired toppings and mix-ins. Some popular options include butter, salt, pepper, cheese, and herbs.
7. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for later. Fresh corn is best enjoyed within a few hours of being prepared, but it will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Tips for cooking the corn on the cob
1. Start with fresh corn. Look for ears that are bright yellow and have green husks. Avoid ears that have brown spots or are starting to dry out.
2. Place the husked corn cobs in a pot of boiling water. You should use enough water to cover the cobs completely.
3. Boil the corn for 3-5 minutes, or until it is tender.
4. Remove the corn from the pot using a slotted spoon and place it in a bowl of iced water. This will stop the cooking process and help to preserve the kernels’ sweetness.
5. Drain the corn and place it on a plate or in a serving dish.
6. Add butter, salt, and pepper to taste.
Popular recipes made with Corn
1. Corn Chowder
Corn chowder is a type of soup that is typically made with milk or cream, potatoes, and corn. The soup can also include other ingredients such as onions, celery, bacon, and cheese. Corn chowder is typically served with crackers or bread on the side.
2. Corn Fritters
Corn fritters are small cakes that are made with cornmeal, flour, eggs, and milk. They are typically fried in oil or butter and served as a side dish or appetizer. Corn fritters can also be served with a dipping sauce such as ketchup, ranch dressing, or honey mustard.
3. Corn on the Cob
Corn on the cob is a popular summertime food that is simply boiled or grilled whole ears of corn. Corn on the cob can be served with butter, salt, and pepper, or it can be topped with cheese, bacon, or other toppings.
4. Sweet Corn Cake
Sweet corn cake is a type of cake that is made with sweet corn, flour, sugar, eggs, and baking powder. It is typically baked in a square or rectangular pan and served as a dessert or snack cake. Sweet corn cake can also be served with frosting or ice cream on top.
5. Creamed Corn
Creamed corn is a side dish that is made by cooking whole kernels of corn in milk or cream until they are soft and tender. It can also include other ingredients such as butter, salt, and pepper. Creamed corn is typically served as a side dish for meat or poultry dishes.
6. Mexican Corn Salad
Mexican corn salad is a type of salad that is made with fresh corn kernels, diced tomatoes, diced avocado, chopped cilantro, and lime juice. It is typically served chilled or at room temperature as a side dish or appetizer. Mexican corn salad can also be served with tortilla chips on the side for dipping
Interesting, little-known, trivia, and fun facts about Corn
- Corn is a type of grass. Scientists believe people living in central Mexico developed corn at least 7000 years ago. It started from a wild grass called teosinte. Teosinte looked very different from our corn today. The kernels were small and were not placed close together like kernels on the husked ear of modern corn.
- Popcorn was first introduced to the United States by the Native Americans. In southwestern Utah, a 1,000-year-old popped kernel of popcorn was found in a dry cave inhabited by predecessors of the Pueblo Indians.
- There are over 3,500 ways to use this popular crop, and scientists are discovering more uses for it every day.
- The average ear of corn has about 800 kernels.
- The United States is the world’s largest producer, consumer, and exporter of corn.
- Approximately 40% of the corn grown in the United States is used for animal feed. Corn is the primary U.S. feed grain, accounting for more than 95 percent of total feed grain production and use.
- Corn that is harvested when fully mature and dry is considered a grain. Popcorn is also harvested when mature and is considered to be a whole grain. On the other hand, fresh corn (e.g., corn on the cob, frozen corn kernels) is harvested when it is soft and has kernels full of liquid. Fresh corn is considered a starchy vegetable.
- A bushel of corn weighs about 56 pounds. (The United States Department of Agriculture established the standard test weight of a bushel of corn as 56 lbs/bu based on 15.5% moisture content.)
- One acre of land can yield about 8,000+ pounds of corn.
- Corn is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, thiamin, niacin, and dietary fiber.
- Corn oil is used in a variety of products, including margarine, salad dressing, and cooking oil.
- Corn syrup is used in a variety of products, including candy, baked goods, and soda.