Botanists believe the corn originated in North America. Native Americans grew corn from as far north as present-day Canada to the southern tip of South America. Christopher Columbus brought corn to Europe, and the Native Americans taught early European settlers how to grow corn. Corn has a lot of history - and interesting food facts!
Purchasing & Selecting Corn
Corn is best when purchased from May through September. Corn kernels should be a good yellow color. Do not buy if husks are straw colored, since they should be green. Straw colored husks and silks indicate decay or worm damage. Corn should always be refrigerated.
Yellow corn usually tastes better than white corn and is higher in vitamin A content.
When storing corn, keep it cool. When corn gets warm the sugar tends to convert to starch. In fact, when corn is piled high in the markets and is allowed to stay for days, the bottom ones will be less sweet due to the heat generated by the weight of the ones on top.
Corn Food Facts
- The best way to remove kernels from an ear of corn is to use a shoehorn or a spoon.
- De-silk an ear of corn easily and effortlessly by shucking the ear and then wiping it in a single stroke from top to bottom with a dampened sheet of paper towel. Bounty works well.
- Corn contains 5 to 6 percent sugar by weight.
- Each individual cornstalk produces between one and two ears of corn.
- Americans eat about 25 pounds of corn per year.
- Early American colonists frequently used corn as money.
- Native Americans called corn Maize, which translates to mean "our life.
- There are more than 200 varieties of sweet corn.
- When wrapping corn in tin foil for barbecuing, try adding a sprig of marjoram next to the corn.
- Florida grows the most sweet corn and the best sweet corn is known as Florida Sweet.
- The kernels at the tip of corn should be smaller. Larger kernels are a sign of over maturity.
- If the corn kernels are shrunken away from the tip, the corn may be older and not as sweet.
- Pop a corn kernel, the juice should be milky, not a clear liquid.
- Corn should not be stored more than a few hours after husking and should be refrigerated or cooked as soon as possible.
- Never add salt to the cooking water as it toughens the corn.
- Steaming corn for six to ten minutes is one of the preferred cooking methods.
- Yellow corn usually tastes better than white corn and has higher vitamin A content.
- Corn pone are small corn (maize) cakes, a specialty of the state of Alabama, USA.
- To store corn longer, cut a small piece off the stalk end, leave on the leaves, then store in a pot with about an inch of water, stems down.
- To cook better tasting corn, add a little milk and sugar to the water. To flavor corn on the cob without using sugar or salt, simply sprinkle a little non fat dry milk into the pot of water when boiling the ears of corn. The powdered milk enhances the taste of the corn. Adding a pinch of sugar to the water when boiling corn on the cob helps bring out the corn's natural sweetness.
- A food brush will remove silk from corn.
- To lighten the color of dark yellow corn, try adding a small amount of vinegar to the boiling water.
- Corn oil (maize oil) is extracted from maize germ. It is 13 percent saturated fat, 27 percent monounsaturated and 60 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids.
- Corn salad is a winter salad vegetable (Valeriana olitoria) also known as lamb's lettuce.
- Cornstarch is actually corn flour.
- Corn sugar is glucose.
- Corn syrup is prepared by partial hydrolysis of starch, a mixture of glucose and oligosaccharides; the higher the glucose content, the sweeter the syrup. Those containing less glucose and more oligosaccharides are used for texture in food manufacturing.
Enjoy Sweet Corn Year-Round
To enjoy sweet corn year-round, pick corn at the height of the summer season. Husk the ears, clean off the silk and blanch the ears in a pot of boiling water for seven minutes. Cool the ears in a sink of cold water. Pack in Ziploc Freezer Bags and store in the freezer.
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