Corn – Interesting Facts

Alongside wheat and rice, corn, also known as maize, is one of the most widely cultivated grains in the world. Sweetcorn is cultivated for human consumption, as opposed to fodder maize, which is fed to cattle. Corn is a staple food particularly in South America and Africa. It is the perfect food for those suffering from coeliac disease, or those with a gluten intolerance, as it contains no gluten and acts as a great alternative to wheat. The yellow seeds make their way onto our plates in a variety of ways – as polenta, cornflakes or as a vegetable side.

Food Facts Food Facts

Corn

Class

sweet grass

Calories

95 kcal per 100 g

Nutrients

15.7 g carbohydrates, 2.8 g fibre, 1.2 g fat, 3.3 g protein per 100 g

Season

August-October

Storage

in the vegetable drawer of the fridge

Shelf life

up to one week in the fridge

Corn – Origins and Circulation

Roughly 8,700 years ago, corn was cultivated from a wild grass in Mexico. From there the cultivation of grains spread across South America. Columbus brought the corn to Europe. In 1525, the first corn was cultivated in Spain, before finally arriving in Switzerland in the 1700’s. In the warm and humid climate of St Gallen Rhine Valley, corn immediately flourished. Nowadays the corn cultivated in Switzerland, and most other countries, is predominantly fodder maize.

Corn – A Different Type for Every Purpose

Alongside sweetcorn, also known as sugar corn, there are a large number of corn varieties, which are cultivated for different purposes. Puffed corn is used to make popcorn due to its thin but hard shell. The so-called dent corn is used as fodder maize and flint corn is used for the production of corn starch. Depending on the type of corn, the grains are harvested at different times. Flint corn, for example, ripens on the cob itself, while sweetcorn is harvested during the “milk stage” – if punctured, the liquid that comes out of a kernel is milky in colour and sweet.

Corn – Harvesting

During summer, it’s best to eat sweetcorn as soon after it is harvested as possible, when there is lots of sugar in the corn, which is then slowly converted into starch. It is possible to eat corn raw, especially baby corn, which is harvested early, but it’s best to boil, grill, fry or bake it. Fresh corn in the cob with butter and a pinch of salt is a real treat.

Although corn is in fact a grain, it is often treated like a vegetable. Tinned corn or frozen corn are a popular side dish and are well suited to many recipes. Many delicious dishes can be created out of cornmeal, for example polenta or corn porridge, which is a regular feature in Italian cooking.

Corn – Fresh from the Field, Full of Vitamins

Corn consists largely of water. Carbohydrates, fibre, protein and fat round off the nutrient profile of the grain, making it an ideal satiation food. Fresh, raw corn contains 95 calories per 100 grams, tinned corn contains 80 calories less. Dried corn that is used for popcorn contains 350 calories, a significantly higher amount that equals that of rice or oats. Fresh corn also contains many minerals such as iron, potassium, calcium, and vitamins such as A, C and B vitamins.

Freezing corn is a good way to enjoy it out of season. Frozen sweetcorn contains more vitamins than tinned sweetcorn. Before freezing fresh corn, cook it for about five minutes and place it in a sealed container in the freezer. Before consuming it, thaw it in boiling water for about ten minutes. It keeps for about eight months in the freezer.

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