Corn, Calories, benefits and harms, Useful properties

Corn (maize) is called the oldest cereal and, perhaps, the
oldest cultivated plant, the history of which began in the territory of
modern Mexico about 9-12 thousand years ago. It is assumed
that at that time the ears of corn were no more than 3-4 cm. But after
domestication (about 9 thousand years ago), selection led to the emergence of
varieties with ears of all kinds of sizes and colors.

Corn is an extremely valuable food and feed product, second
only to wheat in sales.
But modern research also reveals the healing potential of the “queen of the
fields”. There is evidence that the inclusion of corn stigmas in food leads
to an increase in the secretion of bile with a decrease in its viscosity and density,
and with prolonged use, even dissolution of gallstones is observed
. And these are not the only medicinal properties of corn.

Useful properties of corn

Composition and calorie content

Crude comprising yellow corn (100 g) .

Calories 86 Kcal

The greatest losses of vitamins and some minerals occur when the
product is preserved. Thus, the presence of
potassium, phosphorus and magnesium is almost halved .

The sodium in corn is the mineral that undergoes the
most significant variation depending on the type of cooking.
If during cooking sodium almost disappears from the composition, then during canning
its concentration increases more than 10 times.

If fresh corn is not available, then the
frozen version will become its most complete replacement , in which the proportion of vitamins and minerals
not only does not decrease, but even increases in some items.

Corn Grains

Medicinal properties

The main therapeutic function is performed by corn silk and oil,
which have a beneficial effect on several organs and
life support systems of the body at once :

  • In the circulatory system, substances secreted from the stigmas increase the
    number of platelets, contribute to the normalization of the
    blood coagulation process , and vitamin E in the oil reduces the concentration of cholesterol
    after damage to the inner wall of the vessel.
  • Antioxidant
    properties and the ability to protect liver cells allows the use of
    stigmas in the treatment of toxic hepatitis and complications of sugar
  • The choleretic effect of corn
    oil and stigmas, as well as an increase in bile secretion with a decrease in
    its viscosity and density, helps to fight a number of diseases of the
    gallbladder and liver.
  • Maize hairs in water infusions of various concentrations are used
    to dissolve carbonate stones.

Some of the medicinal properties of raw corn are enhanced after
processing, while others, on the contrary, are lost. So, for example, popcorn
(if not “discredited” by the addition of large amounts of
sugar and salt) increases the amount of plant antioxidants
(polyphenols) that prevent cell oxidation and aging.
And cornflakes, after going through the stages of processing and preparation,
lose almost all phenolic acids that can fight
cancer .

Use in medicine

For medicinal purposes, a raw material known as “corn
hair” is used, obtained from corn stalks with stigmas. Stigma
contains fat-soluble, hydrophobic vitamins (involved in
protein synthesis and ensuring normal blood clotting
), ascorbic acid (ensuring the functioning of
connective and bone tissue), fatty oil, some steroid
alcohols, glycosides, and traces of essential oil.

Since they have a choleretic and diuretic effect, their
liquid extract is prescribed for insufficient bile secretion,
as well as for infectious inflammation of the bile ducts (cholangitis),
inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis), the
formation of carbonate stones there, liver diseases (hepatitis).
A little less often – with inflammation of the prostate gland, urinary
tract, and also as a means to slow bleeding.

Corn oil

Fatty unrefined oil, which
contains up to 57% in the embryos of some maize varieties, is prescribed as an auxiliary
and prophylactic agent for
obesity, lipid and protein metabolism disorders in atherosclerotic
formations, as well as in violation of glucose absorption
and the risk of developing diabetes mellitus.

In folk medicine

Despite some differences in the approach to treatment, traditional
healers often used corn remedies for the same indications
as modern doctors representing scientific medicine.

  • South Slavic tradition prescribed the use of a decoction of corn
    stigmas for urolithiasis and inflammation of the urinary tract.
    But in addition, they were prescribed to combat tapeworms.
  • East Slavic healers “prescribed” corn decoctions
    for diseases of the gallbladder and ducts, as well as a diuretic
  • In Central Asia, corn was used to treat tuberculosis.
    In a boiled form, corn cakes with vinegar were applied
    to eczema,
    they healed skin cracks on the arms and legs. Chewed corn kernels were
    thought to improve vision when the
    resulting gruel was applied to the eyes. As a medicinal drug,
    such gruel was also used for insect bites. Eaten corn
    was classified as a bonding agent for gastrointestinal disorders. And an enema
    from boiled flour, according to traditional healers, could cure

Not everywhere, but quite widely in folk medicine
, the ability of corn stigmas is still used to relieve nervous
tension and have a calming effect. In addition, in lotions
and by internal use, the stigma is recommended for glaucoma
and hemorrhages in the vitreous body and conjunctiva of the

Corn silk

Decoctions and infusions

There are several recipes for decoctions and infusions of corn stigmas,
which are prepared depending on what health problems
need to be solved.

  • With a disease of the biliary tract. Raw materials in the amount of
    2 tbsp. spoons are crushed and filled with 250 ml of boiling water. After
    30 minutes of infusion, the liquid is filtered and then
    60-70 ml is taken warm before meals three times a day.
  • To restore blood clotting.
    A similar method of preparation is used, but 100
    g of raw materials are taken , and the broth is taken in 1 tbsp. spoon every hour.
  • As a diuretic for edema
    and kidney disease. Raw materials in a volume of 1 teaspoon are crushed, poured
    into an enamel pan, 200 ml of boiling water is poured, covered
    with a lid and kept for half an hour until it cools. After filtering, the
    liquid is taken in 2-3 tbsp. spoons before meals three times a day.
  • For dissolving kidney and ureteric stones.
    Raw materials in the volume of 1 teaspoon are crushed, 200-250 ml of
    water is poured in and boiled over very low heat for an hour. In case of
    boil-over, you can add some water until volume is restored.
    The broth is infused until it cools down and taken in 1-2 tbsp. spoons
    before meals four times a day.
  • With eye hemorrhages. Raw materials in a volume of
    15 g are poured with 200 ml of boiling water and infused for 40 minutes. After
    filtering, the liquid is taken in 2 tbsp. spoons three times a day.
  • With uterine bleeding. Preparation of the
    infusion takes place in a similar way, but 1
    teaspoon of raw materials is used and the infusion time is reduced to 20 minutes. It is taken
    in 2-3 tbsp. spoons before meals (20 minutes) three times a day.
  • In infusions for weight loss, raw materials (3-4 tablespoons)
    are usually infused for about 3 hours in a thermos, and the liquid itself is
    taken in 1 tbsp. spoon before meals (30 minutes) three times a day.

Multicolored corn: red, black, striped

In oriental medicine

In traditional Chinese medicine, foods are classified according
to the extent to which they represent the two foundational
principles of Yin and Yang (on a scale of -3 to +3, respectively). Corn
in this division, along with other cereals, forms the basis
of human nutrition, with a value of “-1” (minimum degree of Yin),
being considered a very balanced product.

It has a tonic effect on the vital energy of the pancreas
and spleen, soothes and “extinguishes” liver heat, regulates the fullness of the
urinary and gall bladders, and also moves the blood of the “triple heating pad / warmer”
through the system of which the Qi energy performs its functions.

Tibetan medicine expands the list of diseases and pathological
conditions in which corn is useful, adding constipation,
poisoning, leucorrhoea, urinary retention to it. It is believed that corn may slightly
aggravate Cold disease with Kapha (Mucus) at its base. There are many
more of them than heat diseases and, if started, they are more difficult to treat.

In scientific research

Recent scientific research has made it possible to talk about
corn-based preparations as a way to effectively combat
obesity, type 2 diabetes, and
various inflammatory processes .

In the spring of 2019, a team of researchers from the University of Illinois
tested how purple corn phenols in aqueous
extracts extracted from the pericarp of Apache
Red hybrids would affect laboratory mice. The concentration of the obtained
and phenolic compounds significantly differed depending on the
specific hybrid, but the therapeutic effect
was recorded to one degree or another in all cases.

Scientists noted a change in the development of adipose tissue cells (adipocytes)
under the influence of maize extract and a decrease in fat content
by 8-56% (depending on the phenol studied). In addition, they
found that a key marker of insulin resistance decreased
by 29-64%, and glucose uptake by cells decreased by 30-139%
(depending on the chemistry of anthocyanins).

It is assumed that in the near future, the choice of the ideal concentration of
phenolic compounds and chemical composition will reduce the
influence of oxidative processes in insulin-resistant fat
cells and, in general, improve the insulin profile in people suffering
from obesity .

A few years earlier, in 2012, a Korean research
team from the Department of Biochemistry at Hallym University also experimented
with purple maize from Chile and Peru to determine how
anthocyanins derived from this corn would affect the development of diabetic
kidney damage (nephropathy).
The experiment was carried out in 2 stages: first in a test tube (in vitro),
and then in mice.

Scientist studying corn in the laboratory

For 6 hours, the cells were exposed to corn anthocyanins
at various concentrations from 1 to 20 μg / ml. Mice (both diabetic
and control groups) were injected with the drugs for 8 weeks.
As a result, the interruption of the cellular signal was recorded,
which stimulates the mechanism of development of nephropathy, and can also
inhibit the infiltration of macrophages, which is closely associated with inflammation of the
kidneys. Thus, the researchers concluded that the use of
maize anthocyanin can be considered as part of the overall strategy for
the prevention of renal disease with type 2 diabetes
of the type .

A whole set of studies was devoted to the effect on the body of
high-fructose corn syrup (with glucose and
fructose in a ratio of 45:55, respectively), which is
added to sweet water, bread, ketchup, mayonnaise, yogurt on an industrial scale
and is used in cooking.

  • Research conducted at Baylor College of Medicine
    in March 2019 showed that daily consumption of corn
    syrup in drinks, even in small amounts (for a person, this is
    about 0.35 liters per day), leads to the progressive growth of intestinal
    tumors, regardless of the degree of obesity. It is assumed that the syrup
    “feeds” the cancer, making it grow faster.
    The study was conducted in mice, in which
    a mouse model of colon cancer was created by removing a specific gene. The control
    group of rodents drank pure water throughout the experiment, and
    they did not have such an intensive growth of cancer .
  • In 2008-10. Scientists at Duke University Medical Center,
    studying dietary questionnaires of 427 adult patients with non-alcoholic
    fatty liver disease, suggested that it was the increased
    consumption of corn syrup that led to the appearance of scars
    and the development of fibrosis .
  • According to a research group at Princeton University,
    corn syrup is more likely to cause obesity than
    other sweeteners of equal calories. In one experiment, experimental
    male rats received water with syrup and control groups sweetened with
    table sugar and sucrose. Males drinking syrupy water
    gained weight much faster. Moreover, they not only got fat, but
    showed signs of morbid obesity. The second experiment,
    carried out for six months, led to similar conclusions .

It must be said that the
Association of
Corn Processors responds to almost all the critical studies of scientists , pointing out certain errors (or incorrect interpretation)
in conducting experiments. But scientists continue to work. And more often
it is aimed not at debunking corn products, but at finding
their useful properties.

Corn porridge

For example, researchers at Purdue University recently
concluded that supplementation with soluble corn fiber can
help store and retain calcium in bones if consumed
at critical times for calcium formation in a
woman’s life — during adolescence and postmenopausal women .

For losing weight

The use of corn in weight loss diets has been controversial
. More often it is recommended to
exclude it from the diet for the duration of the course or reduce its use to a minimum. However,
there are people who practice mono-food in express diets,
talking about the feeling of satiety and quickly losing pounds.
Canadian nutritionist Ishmael Kitner’s 4-day program is also based on
this particular cereal.

  • The first two days are eaten: kernels of 2 cobs of boiled corn
    (if it is not possible to use fresh or frozen kernels,
    then canned ones will do); vegetables and fruits 1 each – carrots,
    a tomato,
    peppers, onions,
  • The last two days the same has been used, only with the
    addition of boiled mushrooms
    in the amount of 150 g.
  • During all this time, it is advisable to drink at least a
    liter of water per day, as well as add a drink from brewed
    cob fibers to the diet .

Regardless of your dietary preference, corn
variety and preparation should be considered when choosing corn . The least amount of calories
in the raw version is about 85 Kcal / 100 g, boiled and canned
corn in sweetened syrup contains approximately the same amount
– 120-125 Kcal / 100 g, in popcorn with flavors – about
325-350 Kcal / 100 g, and a fried product usually contains more than 400 Kcal.

Baked corn with butter

In cooking

There are many uses for corn products
in cooking.

Milk-ripened grains can be eaten raw or boiled.
Some maize varieties make great popcorn, others make
great cornflakes. Canned maize is included in
numerous salad recipes.
Corn glucose-fructose syrup is also known in cooking , which, however, causes
critical attitude and even fear among nutritionists and scientists.

Porridge is made from coarse flour. And when you add fine
flour to cakes and puddings, they become more crumbly. Use
corn flour as for cooking pancakes and dumplings. This is
especially true for people with gluten intolerance who
cannot eat traditional wheat, barley, or rye bread.
However, corn flour can be a real challenge for a novice
cook. It is heavy, and the dough does not want to rise with it. Therefore,
if you use it, then it is better to deal with flour of the finest

maize dishes can be found in the cuisines of the peoples of the world : from Argentinean locro soup and Italian
polenta porridge , to Chinese donuts and Egyptian cake with pineapples.
In Mexico, the chicha
(chicha) beer drink is made from sprouted maize grains .

In cosmetology

A number of different cosmetic components are obtained from maize,
but starch is considered the most popular in the beauty industry
for its absorbing capabilities and the ability to give the skin a
silky smoothness. The
manufacturers themselves call it “Universal Touch Modifier” . When applying cosmetics based
on it, a powdery matting effect appears, due to
which the skin feels dry and smooth, excess shine and
stickiness disappear . Starch, instead of talc in the composition, absorbs excess
sebum and at the same time delicately polishes the surface of the

Corn starch

In addition, starch in cosmetics acts as an
emulsifier, preservative, thickener. Depending on the specific
task, its concentration can reach different levels:

  • in powders – up to 99%,
  • in creams – up to 30%,
  • in lotions – about 0.5-3%.

Corn derivatives in cosmetics have other roles as well.
Corn Protein – nourishes and conditions the skin and hair. Sophisticated
maize alcohol esters (glycerides) – moisturize, and in combination
with corn germ oil, these components protect skin from
damage and irritation.

At home, you can easily make a face mask using
one tablespoon of cornmeal dipped in boiling water. The gruel swollen
from water is applied to the previously cleaned areas of the skin
and left for 15 minutes. After this time, the gruel is washed off with
warm water without soap.

Dangerous properties of corn and contraindications

Because corn silk creates a choleretic effect, it can
trigger movement of stones in the gallbladder and ducts. Boiled
corn kernels are relatively difficult to digest, so
people with gastrointestinal problems
(indigestion, ulcers, increased gas production) should be used with caution .

Potential threats from
eating corn include its ability to increase clotting
and increase blood viscosity. In addition, slowing blood flow
is one of the causes of thrombophlebitis, so it is
better for people with such circulatory system problems to
consult a healthcare professional before including corn in their diet.
Perhaps a balanced diet rich in amino acids (in
particular taurine) will reduce the hazard.

The absence of iodine in corn grits negatively affects the state of the
thyroid gland. More precisely, corn itself as a product does not increase the
risk of goiter,
but the forced transition to long-term corn diets in history
has already led to a regional increase in thyroid disease.
In particular, in the years of famine in northern Italy, the local corn
porridge – polenta (polenta) – due to its nutritional value helped the
locals to survive, however, the lack of sufficient
iodine in the daily diet over time led to a surge in diseases
provoked by this factor.

But both monotonous eating and overeating corn products
with added sugar (cereals, sticks, popcorn, chips)
are not so much about the harmfulness of maize itself, but about abuse
and extremes in nutrition in general.

GMO corn

Glucose-fructose syrup, created from corn, also threatens,
first of all, with an excess of refined fructose
in the composition, which harms the brain and creates the prerequisites for the formation of
tumors. In addition, it “feeds” existing tumors,
which makes them grow faster. There are studies showing
that this syrup increases the risk of developing cirrhosis and fibrosis in
people with fatty hepatosis. Therefore, corn syrup
should definitely not replace sugar (as it is sometimes recommended).

Separate serious controversy is caused by the dependence of the risk of developing
cancer on the consumption of genetically modified
corn. The discussion was exacerbated by a two-year study by French
scientists who, after an experiment on rats, stated that GMOs
lead to the appearance and a rapid increase in cancerous tumors.
According to the data presented,
breast cancer was especially common in female rodents.

Throughout the study, the animals were fed only genetically
modified corn of the famous brand “Monsanto”, after which
a number of countries, just in case (before confirming or refuting the
results), banned the import and cultivation of GM corn.

However, research by the French group almost immediately after publication
was questioned and debunked. The skeptical attitude was caused by the
lack of details about the course of the experiment, insufficient information
about the diet of the control groups, and a small number of studied rodents.
Several other laboratories requested all information on the
work performed to cross-check the results.

In parallel, the collection of statistical information on the possible
harm of GM products was carried out . For this, scientific articles on the topic
over the past 30 years, expert assessments, information on the ratio of the
number of various diseases and the share of GM crops in the national economy
(on a national scale) were raised .
This study did not reveal any negative effects of GMOs on human health. On the contrary, it was
argued that due to a decrease in pesticide load and an increase in
vitamins in hybrids, the health of the nation has improved.

We have collected the most important points about the benefits and possible dangers of corn
in this illustration and we will be very grateful if you share
a picture on social networks, with a link to our page:

Interesting Facts

Corn, which became the basis of highly productive agriculture, played a key
role in the development of all Mesoamerican civilizations, which was reflected
in their religious system. The gods and goddesses of the corn — Centeotl among the
Aztecs and Yum Kaash among the Mayans — were among the most revered in the pantheon.
But other gods were depicted with corn in decoration or were involved
in the mythical appearance of the cereal. So, the supreme god of the Maya and Toltecs
Quetzalcoatl long and diligently searched for the best plant for cultivation,
until he found maize on the border of Guatemala and Mexico.


The new mythology ascribes the domestication of corn not to gods, but to
aliens. And all because a modern cultivated grain can
grow exclusively from seeds sown by man. An
ear that has just fallen to the ground is likely to rot. And since the
spread of culture is impossible without human intervention , then how
could it have appeared in this world, if not with the help of aliens?

Scientists with archaeological finds in their hands answer this question with a
detailed description of the evolution of wild maize, which previously looked
different, and was pollinated differently, and produced “inheritance” without outside
help. And only the ancient selection intervention deprived new
cultural species of this “independence”.

However, even after convincing explanations from scientists, maize gives enough
reason to be surprised. Here are 10 interesting facts about him.

  1. 1 A corn cob always contains an even number of kernels
    (up to a thousand in one cob), usually located in 10-14 rows.
  2. 2 The stem can grow up to 7 meters, which is comparable to the height of a
    two-story house.
  3. 3 Corn is a dioecious plant, and alone it does not bear fruit,
    therefore, in the same field, male maize (with flowers
    in panicles at the tops of the shoots) and female (with flowers collected
    in the leaf axils) alternately grows .
  4. 4 Ancient Mexican peoples built
    dwellings and outbuildings from dried corn stalks .
  5. 5 After the grain is separated, the cobs are used as raw materials for the
    production of smoking pipes.
  6. 6 Cob wraps, for lack of better material, were used in Colombia
    to make balls.
  7. 7 The effect of turning corn kernels into a popcorn balloon
    when heated was known to ancient American civilizations.

Popcorn and movie tickets

  1. 8 The resurgence in popcorn is directly related to the
    cinema revenue system , where popcorn sales have
    pushed back earnings from film distribution in terms of profitability .
  2. 9 Mexicans are considered to be the leaders in eating corn in various forms.
    One adult resident of the country accounts for about 90 kg of product
    per year. The Americans, who are in second place with 40 kg, are
    more than 2 times behind them .
  3. 10 The Aztec corn god Centeotl caused the
    envy of another deity by his popularity and was cut into many pieces,
    some of which turned into a plant. The Mexican name for
    corn retains an association with this legend. The word “tlaolli”
    from one of the indigenous languages ​​of Mexico can be translated as “our meat

In our country, instead of the word “maize”, which is widespread in the world, the word “corn” is used
. This is due to his Turkish origin. In the Ottoman
Empire, the word “kokoroz” meant “tall plant”.
In a slightly modified version, it also stuck in the languages ​​of
Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Romania.

From the middle of the 50s of the XX century, a real
“corn fever” began in the Soviet Union . The country’s agriculture was
largely reoriented from traditional grain crops to growing
corn after in 1955 the head of the Soviet state
Nikita Khrushchev saw with his own eyes the achievements of American
farmers and learned about the scale of the maize crop in the United States. A quarter of all arable
land in the USSR was given over to corn, including floodplains.
The idea was actively promoted among the population. But, in the end, the attempt to
switch to maize without taking into account climatic features and amendments
to the level of agricultural technology, only exacerbated the situation in agriculture.
By the mid-1960s, the campaign began to gradually wind down.

In the USSR, for a long time after that (but often already with irony), corn was
called “the queen of the fields” by analogy with the American “King Corn”.
In 2007, a documentary of the same name was released in the United States,
which details how the plant came to dominate
local fields. It is not surprising that it is in the United States that
most of the monuments to this cereal are collected:

  • Since the Senate of Minnesota since 2005 has approved a city called
    Olivia the world’s corn capital, let’s start our review of monuments with it.
    A 7.6-meter cob of fiberglass is mounted
    on the roof of the gazebo and can be seen from afar by anyone traveling on Highway 212.
  • In the same state, only in the city of Rochester, a
    -gallon water tower tank is made in the form of an ear of corn with night illumination . The total construction height is approximately 46
  • A field of 109 huge (2 meters high) white cobs is spread out
    in Ohio, in the American Dublin. It was “planted” in honor of
    a popular and tasty hybrid created by a local farmer.
  • A mysterious wooden monument in the form of an almost two-meter cob was
    installed in California. The inscription on the attached plaque dedicates the
    statue to Pepperwood and its inhabitants, and the postscript “Gone, but not forgotten”
    raises a lot of questions.
  • In the state of Wisconsin, you can find not only the “Corn Monument”,
    but also a commemorative commemorative coin with the image of a cob.

There are also monuments to the plant in Ecuador, Thailand,.,
Bali. And in China, for the New Year celebrations, a
whole sculptural composition was erected from 5 thousand ears of corn , depicting the legendary Monkey King
with his retinue.

In 2016, an agricultural amusement park was opened near Kiev with the self-explanatory
name “Kukulabiya”, composed of two words: “corn”
and “labyrinth”. On a field of 45 thousand square meters. meters, a
unique one and a half kilometer-
long quest-labyrinth was carved right in the corn thickets, which became the largest structure of its kind in the country. The “corridors” of the
labyrinth formed a large-scale emblem, which was best
viewed from a height.

Corn in the fridge

Selection and storage

When choosing corn for cooking, they are guided by several characteristics:

  1. 1 Color. Since young corn is
    tastier and softer, it is best to use cobs with a light yellow or white
    grain. The rich yellow color of the
    varieties common in our country indicates a high degree of maturity.
  2. 2 Density. The grains should be
    moderately elastic, but still soft enough to the touch. Better if
    they are the same size. In good corn, they fit snugly
    to each other.
  3. 3 Flaws. “Dimples” on the grains can
    indicate either improper pre-sale storage of corn,
    or its overripe condition. In any case, it is better not to
    take such a product .
  4. 4 Leaves. It is safer to buy corn
    with leaves, which ideally should be still “alive” and green,
    quite tightly attached to the cob.

Until the corn is cooked, its “life” can be extended to 3-4
weeks if the ears are immersed in cold water with ice, citric
acid and salt (a teaspoon per liter) for about half an hour.
After that, you need to remove the grains, dry them, then send them for
storage in hermetically sealed bags in the refrigerator. In the freezer
, they can lie all winter.

Boiled corn is usually not stored, but if it is necessary, for example, to
keep the temperature of the cob until the guests arrive, it is wrapped in foil.
In the case when the boiled head of cabbage still remains undies, it
can be wrapped in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator. For a longer
period, the separated corn kernels are sent to the freezer,
previously, on the cob, by arranging a contrasting dip
in hot and cold water. Before freezing, the corn is dried
and put into bags.

When choosing canned corn, attention should be paid to the release date
at least in order to understand whether fresh or frozen
kernels will end up in the jar. As a rule, canned food, dated in summer
and early autumn,
contains freshly harvested crops, and winter and spring packages contain previously frozen grains, which were
thawed with 70-75-degree hot steam before sealing .

According to the rules, canned corn can be stored for 3 years. But after
opening it in the same metal can it should not be kept. If you
didn’t eat it right away, it is better to pour it into a glass dish, adding the
remaining “brine” there, close it tightly with a lid and send it to the refrigerator,
where it can stand for another three days without losing its qualities. However,
people store even sour grains, using them for fishing as
bait. But all the more, they need to be closed as tightly as possible, otherwise the
sour smell will permeate the rest of the products.

Dry corn field

Varieties and cultivation

Any corn in cultivation loves sun and warmth. Seeds germinate
at least at 8-10 C, at -3 C, seedlings die. Maize belongs to drought-resistant
crops, but for a good harvest it still needs 450-600 mm of

There are 9 botanical groups of cultivated corn (Zea mays),
4 species, 3 wild subspecies and thousands of varieties and hybrids that differ
in shape, color, size, yield, ripening time, content of
different elements and other parameters.

  • Sugar maize. The most common group with a high
    sugar content . The ears of this maize are yellow in color with variations from pale
    to rich, almost orange. They need to have time to collect before they are fully
    ripe and cook as quickly as possible so that the grains do not become
    “rubbery” and starchy.
  • Waxy maize. There are varieties with yellow, red and almost white
    grains. Due to the recessive “waxy gene”, varieties of this group
    should not be planted adjacent to varieties from other groups. Waxy
    maize is quite vulnerable to adverse factors – it often dies
    and does not have consistently high yields. But it is valuable for its
    100% amylopectin starch.
  • Toothed maize. When the grain of this group ripens, a
    depression appears in it, making it look like a tooth, which determines the name.
    Most varieties are medium-late or late, providing
    high survival and yield.
  • Flint maize. The species is hardy, fruitful, with a high
    starch content . Grains (from lilac-chocolate to yellow) are mainly used
    for cereals and flakes. An alternative name – “Indian” – this corn
    probably received due to the “mistake of Columbus”, who, having moored to the shores of
    America, thought that he had found a way to India.
  • Starchy maize. Large grains of yellow or white color contain
    up to 80% soft starch and little protein, which is why it is used
    mainly for the production of flour, molasses, and alcohol.
  • Bursting maize. This is a high-protein corn, which, when heated,
    breaks the skin and bursts, turning out into a white powdery lump,
    which determined the technology of popcorn production.
  • Filmy maize. It owes its name to the scales (films) covering the
    grain. This quality makes the corn of this group of little use
    for the food industry and, as a result, unpopular with farmers.

There are also semisubular and starchy-sugar groups.

The varietal-hybrid variety of corn is extremely large, therefore,
for acquaintance, let us pay attention to the amazing maize, which
in appearance is noticeably different from the corn we are used to.

  • “Pearl Miracle” (Japanese). The plant itself,
    and the flowers, and the cobs look spectacular. Thanks to thick juicy stems with striped
    yellow-green-red-orange-pink stripes, they are often planted
    along walls and fences as a decorative one and a half meter hedge,
    and designers
    decorate interiors after harvest with small elongated cobs with dark red grains .
  • Glass Gem, or Kaleidoscope. When looking at the ear of this
    hybrid, it appears that the kernels are made of glass of different colors and transparencies.
    Moreover, the set of colors is not repeated, and therefore we can say that
    every time a completely unique edible
    and at the same time decorative product appears on the dining table . “Glass Gem” is not brewed, but
    excellent popcorn is made from the grains.
  • “Strawberry”. This variety surprises with its color, size and shape.
    In length, the cobs are small – they do not exceed 10 cm, have a wide base
    and a narrow top, which resembles the shape of a berry. The reddish-purple
    color is also associated with strawberries. The grains of this hybrid are small,
    but in the milky stage of maturity are sweet and healthy. The flour made
    from this corn retains a natural coloring that is used
    in cooking.
  • Peruvian black. Black corn is spoken of not only as the
    most ancient domesticated crop, but also as the
    healthiest among corn. Gardeners are often impressed by both the black “black” grain and the
    powerful stem of the plant with aboveground purple roots and
    dark-striped leaves. The second, “Ukrainian” name of the Peruvian
    corn – “Mama Sara” – comes from the name of Saramama (“mother of maize”)
    – a female deity from the mythology of the Quechua people.
  • White. The grain color of these hybrids is really snow-white, which is
    reflected in the names of many of them: “White Cloud” – used
    to make popcorn, “Snow Queen” – is characterized by increased
    sugar content, “Snow Avalanche” – a high-yielding hybrid with sweet
    and juicy grains. Thompson Prolific is a starchy, hearty
    white corn variety known in Virginia (USA) since 1910 and very
    popular with American farmers.

Corn is an irreplaceable crop in the world economy. Starch, flour,
alcohol, oil, biogas – all this is produced in sufficient quantities
thanks to corn. Without it, humanity simply could not cope with
either feeding itself or providing food for
domestic animals. But new research into the health benefits of corn
may further fuel interest in this unique crop.

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Anna Evans

Author ✓ Farmer

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