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Sweet corn is a vegetable, that as its name “predicts” is sweet, and very tasty.
Let’s find out more about the sweet corn!
- Sweet corn is also called sweetcorn, sugar corn and pole corn.
- It is a variety of maize with a high sugar content.
- Sweet corn is the result of a naturally occurring recessive mutation in the genes which control conversion of sugar to starch inside the endosperm of the corn kernel.
- Unlike field corn varieties, which are harvested when the kernels are dry and mature (dent stage), sweet corn is picked when immature (milk stage).
- It is prepared and eaten as a vegetable, rather than a grain.
- Since the process of maturation involves converting sugar to starch, sweet corn stores poorly .
- It must be eaten fresh, canned, or frozen, before the kernels become tough and starchy.
- It is one of the six major types of corn.
- The others are dent corn, flint corn, pod corn, popcorn, and flour corn.
- Sweet corn occurs as a spontaneous mutation in field corn.
- It was grown by several Native American tribes.
- The Iroquois gave the first recorded sweet corn to European settlers in 1779.
- It was called Pappoon.
- It soon became a popular food in the southern and central regions of the United States.
- Young sweet cornThe same rows of corn 41 days later at maturity.
- Open pollinated cultivars of white sweet corn started to become widely available in the United States in the 19th century.
- Two of the most enduring cultivars, still available today, are ‘Country Gentleman’ (a Shoepeg corn with small kernels in irregular rows) and ‘Stowell’s Evergreen’
- The fruit of the sweet corn plant is the corn kernel, a type of fruit called a caryopsis.
- The ear is a collection of kernels on the cob.
- Because corn is a monocot, there is always an even number of rows of kernels.
- The ear is covered by tightly wrapped leaves called the husk.
- Silk is the name for the pistillate flowers, which emerge from the husk.
- The husk and silk are removed by hand, before boiling but not necessarily before roasting, in a process called husking or shucking.
- Native Americans used the sweet corn leaves as chewing gum.
- The tallest sweet corn plant on record measured 10.74 m (35 ft 3 inches). That’s nearly 3 floors high. It was grown by Jason Karl in Costa Rica in 2011.
- The silk of sweet corn is actually the stigma (the female part). There is one strand of silk per grain of corn.
- Field corn (maize) has been grown for over 8000 years, but sweet corn is a relative newcomer. It first appeared in Brazil as a spontaneous mutation on field corn about 1000 years ago, then slowly spread through the New World.
- Some people believe that yellow corn is sweeter than white, but that’s not true.
- Yellow corn is, however, slightly better for your health than white corn, as the yellow coloration comes from beta carotene that our bodies convert to vitamin A.
- ! Heritage varieties, especially, usually get their sweetness from the su gene and their sugars start to turn to starch only 30 minutes after harvest. Even modern sweet corns, whose sugars hold on longer, should be cooked within 3 days of harvesting.
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