Corny corn: The many purpose vegetable grain

Description
One of the main refreshing summer treat is a fresh, healthy and tasty corn-on-the-cob. It is a cereal which is also highly nutritious, and thus also provides vital nutrients for your body and is known by various names such as maize, in Spanish mais in Italian to name a few. The corn is in the form of so-called “ears” and each of these ears are covered by kernels placed in rows. They are also covered by threads made of silk known as “corn silk” for that reason. It is also protected by a husk, which is usually removed before consumption.

However, the corn may also be cooked with its husk. There are different methods of cooking and different recipes. You should keep in mind that if you are steaming the corn or boiling it, there is no need to add salt to it or overcook it, as this will make the corn hard and result in it being less tasty than otherwise.

Buying tips
When you go to the market, make sure you avoid buying corn where it is kept in warm places, as the heat makes corn loses its sweetness. This is because the sugar in the corn gets converted to starch. Always go to the refrigerated section to buy your corn. Even if you are buying it say from the roadside markets, then make sure that the corn has been kept out of the direct sunlight.

When you choose the corn, look for those which have green husks. It should not have dried ones, as these are not fresh. The husks should completely cover the corn, and not just loosely lie around it. The kernels inside should be healthy and fat and juicy. It should be compactly arranged. Those kernels which are fresh and juicy, give out a milky substance if you press it. You can check for freshness in this manner.

Culinary usage
Corn can be prepared in a variety of ways. It can hardly be prepared wrongly!

  1. You can have the corn just as it is on the ears, with a little butter or maybe olive or flaxseed oil on it. You can also add some lime and pepper on it for added flavor. It can be custom made, with your own choices of spices added to it to make it tastier.
  2. You can add the kernels to soup, along with other vegetables, especially tomato. Corn soup is widely popular, with many different recipes like sweet corn soup, sweet & sour corn soup etc.
  3. You can use the kernels to make salad, along with some green chilies, tomatoes, capsicum and fried onions. These salads are usually had cold.
  4. Corn is often just boiled or steamed and served with dips like mayonnaise or cream sauce. You should not add extra salt to it or overcook it while boiling.
  5. A very popular recipe is making corn chips with the kernels, by frying them in oil and baking it. The corn should be washed and drained properly before cooking it.
  6. The corn can also be blanched or grated or made into cubes, according to the person’s requirements.
  7. Corn is a very tasty and healthy addition to the pizza crust, and serves as a very appetizing topping.

Storage
Corn/mais/maize should generally be consumed within a day or two after it is bought from the market, as it tends to lose its freshness and tasty flavor very fast. You should not remove the husk while storing it, as this results in loss of its flavor even more rapidly. It should be put into a plastic bag or a sealed container and stored in the crispier drawer of your refrigerator.

If you are intending to store it for a long time, it will be best if you can store it in the heavy-duty bags in the freezer. Before freezing the ears, it is advised to blanch it first for around eleven minutes, depending on the size. However if you are storing it in your house in your normal refrigerator, then it should be consumed as soon as possible for a tasty and healthy meal.

Medicinal values
Corn/mais/maize is not only a very appetizing food, but it is also very helpful for out body due to its rich nutrient content. It has many medicinal values, some of which are:

  1. It helps in building your body and strengthening your immune system. It contains Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid), which is required for the metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins.
  2. Corn helps in curing many cardiovascular diseases. This is due to its rich fiber content, as well as the presence of Folate in it. Folate not only prevents irregularities during birth, but also helps in lowering homocysteine levels, which are directly responsible for causing irreparable damage to your blood vessels. It also reduces chances of contracting lung cancer, due to the presence of beta-cryptoxanthin in it, which is a cartenoid.
  3. Corn also alleviates kidney disorders, which also includes renal dysfunctioning.
  4. Corn has a high content of Thiamine, or Vitamin B1, which helps in strengthening your memory. This is because Thiamine helps in producing acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter very vital for memory.
  5. Corn also has a high content of fiber, just like most other vegetables. This helps in an effective working of the digestive system.

Where to but corn in US?
In USA, corn (maize) is grown all over the country. But it is grown mostly in what is known as the “Corn Belt”. This is a region which stretches across the states of South Dakota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. USA produces the highest quantity of corn in the world, and is alone responsible for around 35% of the total corn production in the world.

Nutritional and dietary information
Corn or maize is very rich in many nutrients, some of which are very rare and can only be supplied to our body by few rare vegetables. The main nutrients that corn supplies to us are:

177.12 calories in a cup or 164 g of corn.

Vitamins like Vitamin C, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B3 (Niacin) and Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid).

Minerals like Phosphorous and Manganese.

Dietary fiber

Folate

Thus, from all the above information you can see how useful this vegetable is for us. It is both nutritious and appetizing.

Nutrition Facts
Servings Size 166gm
Calories from Fat 12%
Saturated Fat 6%
Sodium 2%
Total Carbohydrate 41%
Dietary Fiber 48%
Vitamin A 7%
Calcium 1%
Iron 25%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because it has not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

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