Different Types of Corn: The Ultimate Guide
Whether you call it corn or maize, there’s one thing that is for sure; it’s delicious. What most people do not know is that there are a variety of breeds and blends of this common staple. They come in a range of colors, sizes and grow at different times of the year. Anyone looking to get a little more insight into this well-known crop is definitely in the right place. Especially because there is a whole lot to know about corn. Based on all this, here are some of the most well-known types of corn in the form of an ultimate guide.
Standard Sweet Corn
This is one of the most common types out there. In fact, there is a range of sweet corn varieties but this is the one that ends up on plates more often. Though it happens to be extremely tasty as a whole, this type of maize does not store for long. That works just as well since it tastes so good that it has to be finished at a go. A few days extra in the crisper turns their sugar content into pure starch and that did not bode well for anyone. Despite this drawback, there are still a handful of upsides to this breed of maize. They come as both early and late hybrids which makes them one of the best selections for all zones.
In addition to this, they are not limited to one color. At times, they come in white while other times they appear yellow. Under this category, there’s also a wide range of variations, some of them happen to be, the Silver Queen, Sugar Dots, Stowells, True Platinum and Seneca Horizon. Even better news here is the fact that most of these are blight and disease resistant. They are also highly characterized by creamy flesh and a sweet flavor. All in all, this is a viable option in terms of sweet corn varieties.
This particular breed of maize gets its name from its unique shape. Once it matures, it is characterized by a very obvious indentation at the crown of the kernels. They also have different textures within the given kernels. At the sides, it happens to have a hard starchy feel at the sides, while the center contains a sifter starch. Basically, once the kernel itself ripens the softer starch contained in the center shrinks thereby causing the depression that gives it its name. In most cases, dent corn has kernels which are either long and narrow or shallow and wide. A fun fact is that this is the most common type of corn grown in America.
As much as a wonder as it is, this type of corn is primarily used to make animal feeds. Yes, humans can consume it too, but it is not your typical corn on the cob. Thanks to their overall texture, this is a great option to roast or simply make into grits. It is not as sweet and tends to be starchier than most sweet corn varieties out there. As such, they tend to be used to make products that are either dry or wet milled. Its actual makeup consists of a cross between two types of corn; flour and flint and this will make a lot more sense down the line. When it comes to their color, they are mostly yellow. Nevertheless, a few white varieties can be found here and there.
Also popularly referred to as Indian corn, this is another popular type of maize. One predominant tell-tale sign is the presence of multi-colored kernels. In fact, it is a popular form of decoration that is used a whole lot in Autumn. Why is it popularly known as Indian corn? In a nutshell, the early colonists picked it up from the Indians who ate it every other day. It is not just a fun decoration, it can also be eaten by both humans and animals. There are also some inedible items that have this type of maize as a main ingredient. With products such as ethanol, fabrics, makeup, paints and even paper, this type of corn is integral in their construction. The corn itself comes in colors such as blue, red and white and is equally characterized by shells that are hard as a flint (hence the name). The kernels themselves are filled with soft starch which is then surrounded by a dense amount of hard starch. This means that when they are being dried they shrink uniformly and since they do not have any dents, they are less likely to go bad.
The kernels of this variation are susceptible to being popped when heated. Unlike popcorn, the kernels end up cracked rather than exploded. Despite this, the hard outer shell of the kernel allows for them to be stored for a while. In fact, they are quite resistant to rodents and pests alike. This is one of the reasons they do so well as seasonal decorations, there is no doubt that they can stand the test of time. Notwithstanding its all-round makeup, this type of maize is great for consumption. But it should be noted that it will predominantly have a starchy or even a gummy flavor to it.
Some people may not know this but popcorn is one of the oldest forms of corn available. It dates back as far as 3600 B.C and mainly comes in two forms. The both of them happen to be Pearl and rice corn which is mostly because of their shape. As expected, the pearl popcorn happens to be a lot rounder while the rice variation is nice and long. In addition to being available in a range of shapes, they are alps available in a wide range of colors. Some of the most commonly identified ones are yellow, pink, red, blue and the occasional multicolored ones. Unlike most variations, popcorn is not harvested when the kernels are tender. Rather, this happens when the kernels are old and dried out.
So, what actually makes them ‘pop’? When the kernels are exposed to heat, the moisture present within them is transformed into steam. In turn, it explodes thus turning the kernel itself inside out. When they are exposed to the same amount of heat, other types of corn may burst open. Nevertheless, there is no way they would look exactly like popcorn seeing as its ability to pop is completely unique. Additionally, they will not taste the same way at all.
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From the name alone, it should be evident that this type of corn is commonly used to make flour. It also happens to be one of the most commonly planted types of maize present in the South Western part of America. It happens to be made up of a whole lot of soft starch and this allows for it to be easily ground into a fine powder. In fact, the powder it is ground into is a lot finer than any other cornmeal any other type of corn would be able to produce. It is not just used for flour, but can also be eaten when it is not yet a full-fledged crop. In this form, steaming or roasting it will yield the best results.
Nevertheless, when it is meant to be used to produce flour, it is harvested when it is grown and mature. When it comes to their pigmentation, their kernels come in a wide range of colors. This color is only maintained on the surface, inside they happen to be white and starchy. This is why the flour produced from these is often whitish-gray despite the color of the kernel itself.
This happens to be a very interesting variation of maize as a whole. All in all, it may not be as common as the others but is a type of corn altogether. Here, every single kernel happens to be encased in what seems like a long, membranous husk. These husks are, in turn, commonly referred to as glumes. This is highly unusual since other types of corn are characterized by exposed kernels. This particular type of corn actually features a mutation; the leaf gene here is not usually active in other types.
Nevertheless, this variation has it leaves active around the kernel portion of the plant. As a result of this, the pod corn is actually an ear of corn that forms leaves in a totally different place. Due to this characteristic, it was once believed that this type of corn originated in the wild. However, that notion was debunked when some genetic research was conducted. The results showed that pod corn ears are simply a result of genetic mutations over time. Thanks to its mutation, it is quite difficult to peel or uncover the kernels of pod corn. This simply means that it is not often eaten due to all the stress. Nevertheless, it is a wonderful example of the variety that corn has to offer.
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