Mucho Guide to Corn!
Oh, our favourite little yellow vegetable — We love you, corn!
We absolutely adore you! And don’t even get us started on the beautiful things you create — corn chips (perfectly partnered with guac), or your delicious kernels that turn into popcorn, a staple for all Mucho Saturday nights in.
Corn as we know it today wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for native Americans around 7000 years ago. You see, corn doesn’t exist naturally in the wild — it’s a human invention of sorts, which in turn makes it a little bit difficult for scientists to track its ancestry. However, it’s believed that people living in Central Mexico cultivated it and developed it all those years ago, starting with a wild mexican grass called Teosnite.
If you’ve ever seen a teosinte plant, you’ll probably agree that it seems like a little bit of a stretch from corn as we know it — but turns out that they have certain qualities in common, and the native people were quick to realise this. We did Mucho research (we won’t bore you with all the nitty gritty ins and outs) but the broad takeaway is that these pioneer geneticists eventually genetically modified teosinte into what we now know as corn over many generations. Yahtzee!
And thank god they did! These days, corn is a great source of antioxidants, fibre, vitamin A, B, and E — lots of stuff that’s good for your insides! Not only that, but a healthy serving of corn in your diet helps lower risk of colon cancer and Alzheimers disease, as well as assists in the prevention of anaemia, hemmorhoids and improves bone strength. It even keeps your skin glowing! Man, is there anything that corn can’t do?!
Actually yes, there is plenty that corn can’t do… Including backflips, water skiing, and their lack of opposable thumbs also means that corn is a lousy pinball competitor. Okay, okay, all jokes aside — corn isn’t all good news!
Corn does actually contain large amounts of fatty acid, so for people who are already at high risk of heart disease, excess corn or corn oil can potentially worsen those conditions and risks. Don’t worry — you can still enjoy corn, but moderation is key! Feel free to toss some kernels on your sarnie, or throw a few ears on the grill — but maybe keep away from four cobs slathered in butter and salt as a main course, kay?
Additionally, corn is frequently turned into high fructose corn syrup, which is extracted from corn to use as a cheap sweetener in other foods. It’s waaaay worse than table sugar, and a cause of obesity — so Mucho advises steering clear of fructose corn syrup wherever possible, and just reap the positive benefits of corn instead!
You didn’t think we would finish without mentioning GMO? Ah, the controversional topic of GMO. GMO can be tracked back to the mid 1980’s, when biotechnology giants began to genetically alter corn to withstand herbicide roundup — the goal being to eradicate weeds, but not full crops. The modification instills small changes in the DNA of the corn, which are expressed by the plant as proteins. These proteins are believe to act as allergens, provoking a multisystemic disorder marked by the over production of certain different blood cells. In turn, there are plenty of people out there who are allergic to GMO corn, which really sucks — not only because corn is super delicious — but also because it’s pretty damn hard to avoid GMO corn these days. Other than that, recent research seems to suggest that GMO’s aren’t harmful for human ingestion, but the problem with that research is that it’s difficult to determine any long term effects due to the young nature of the subject.
The Cheat Sheet
The easiest way to choose an ear of corn is to be a little naughty, to peel down a bit of the husk, and take a peek of the kernels. Are the kernels bright and plump? Yay! You’ve found a delicious cob of corn — start boiling the water, stat!
If you’re not one to rebel, and are scared of the dirty stares you sometimes may receive from other market goers (hey, don’t laugh, it happens!), then there is a way to pick corn without actually laying your eyes on the kernel. Look out for bright green, moist husks, and stiff, dark and moist silk. If the husks are dried out, put the cob back and move on. Don’t be afraid to get a little handsy with the corn either — you should be able to feel individual kernels by pressing gently against the husk — you want them to feel like they can pop between your fingers.
Oh, and corn lovers, rejoice! We’re coming into the perfect season to buy corn... Summer! So take full advantage — we certainly will be… Now pass the butter!
The Short List
Time poor? Get amongst some tinned/jarred corn instead — it’s surprisingly tasty and works perfectly when cooking… Or just in a spoon straight to your gob! Deeeelicious!
- The All Rounder — Organic, tasty, and if you go jarred, 100% BPA free: Biona SweetCorn
- The Affordable Organic — We love Suma! Cooperative, affordable, crips and tasty, and you can even find it on Amazon.
- On A Budget — The big 4 carry their own brands of essentials, we love that Waitrose stays clear of adding any sugars to their tin! That’s a win!
Craving corn now? Us too. Good thing we’ve got your back — check out our Oven Roasted Corn recipe here.