Table of content A-Z

 

corn

 

Synonyms: maize, sweet corn, Indian corn;

botanical name: Zea mays


Mais

 

Origin, areas of cultivation

 

On the basis of archaeological finds it is estimated that corn has been cultivated for 7000 years by the Indians and originated in Mexico. The great importance of corn for the Indians is shown by the fact that, in the creation myth of the Maya, the first human being was made out of corn. Columbus brought corn to Europe, where its cultivation began in the Mediterranean region.

Today, corn is the most commonly grown grain. It is cultivated worldwide. The main areas where it is grown are the USA, Mexico, Brazil, India, Argentina, China, South Africa, France, Italy, Spain and the Ukraine.

On the American continent, corn cultivation takes first place before all other varieties of grain. This is why the term is 'corn' in America (as opposed to 'maize' in England), just as Korn is used in Germany for wheat and rye.

In this country corn has been grown in large quantities for only about 50 years, and it serves mainly as animal fodder.


Availability


According to the variety and the area of cultivation, corn may be harvested from the middle of September until the end of November. With the exception of fresh ears of corn, it is available throughout the year.


Appearance, taste, characteristics


Corn kernels may be shiny or dull, smooth or shrivelled, and may have the most varied colours. They are white, yellow, red, violet or even blue. The most widespread, however, is yellow corn.

For growth it prefers heat and a soil rich in nutrients. By means of breeding, however, corn has been adapted to the climate here and is capable of growing in all types of soil. Nevertheless, for high yields large amounts of water and nutrients are still necessary.


Ingredients


Corn has a high content of magnesium and zinc, but also of β-carotene. The manganese concentration and the availability of the proteins for the human body are relatively small. In this regard, other types of grain have more to offer.

Being gluten-free, corn plays a large role as a substitute grain in the diet of persons with coeliac disease.

100 g contain:

 
Corn,
whole kernel
Corn grits
Cornflakes
Energy (kcal)
331
345
356
Water (g)
12
11
5.7
Protein (g)
8.5
8.8
7.2
Fat (g)
3.8
1.1
<1
Carbohydrates (g)
65
74
79
Fibre (g)
9.2
5.0
4
Vitamin A (µg)
185
44
28
Vitamin B1 (mg)
0.4
0.4
0.06
Vitamin B2 (mg)
0.2
0.1
0.1
Vitamin B6 (mg)
0.4
0.06
0.07
Vitamin E (mg)
1.5
0.5
0.9
β-Carotene (µg)
900
300
200
Magnesium (mg)
120
20
14
Manganese (mg)
0.5
0.1
0.1
Zinc (mg)
2.5
0.4
0.3
Phosphorus (mg)
256
73
59



Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation


Corn is traditionally used to prepare flat breads and porridge; the flour and grits (polenta) needed for these can be made from corn. Meanwhile, corn flour is mixed with other flours and used to make gluten-free breads and other baked goods.

With the exception of sweet corn, corn is not suitable for cooking, but it is used to make cornflakes and popcorn. It is also the source of cornstarch, dextrose and corn syrup. The latter is the sweetener most frequently used in the American soft-drink industry.

Corn oil is obtained from the germs. Apart from that, corn is used to produce alcoholic beverages such as corn beer and bourbon whiskey.

Tasty dishes can be made from corn grits. Polenta, tomatoes and beans make a delicious meal. As the basis for casseroles, or beat into a stiff batter and then fried in small pieces, polenta is a nice change at the dinner table. Try it!


Miscellaneous


Two particular varieties of corn are sweet corn and popcorn. Compared with other types, sweet corn is special in that it lacks an enzyme that changes the sugar in the corn to starch. This is why the kernels taste sweet. Sweet corn is the sort that we are familiar with in tins and that is eaten, often with peas, as a vegetable.

Popcorn is different from the other types in that the kernels contain fewer mealy components. When the corn is heated in a pan or a pot, the water in it begins to boil. Steam pressure is produced, which finally makes the corn kernel burst and the starch well out of it.

 

 

_________________________

 

  This article was written by

         

 


 

  With the website www.the-green-pantry.com the Fritz Terfloth Foundation of Münster offers consumers independent and competent information about plant foods and their health effects. All texts are subject to German copyright law. Information about the conditions for use of the texts by third parties can be found here.


Auf Ihrem System scheint kein FlashPlayer installiert zu sein oder es ist
ein Update des Players notwendig. Sie können den Player hier herunterladen: