Sweetcorn, corn on the cob, maze or corn, call it when you like but we all adore it! Personally I just love the simplicity of it all, boiling it and adding a little butter. As it’s now in season I thought I would share 10 ultimately thrilling facts on the humble corn!
1. The earliest known evidence of domesticated corn is 8,000 BC, in what is now the Rio Balsas region of Mexico, grown by ancient Indians and has been an important foodstuff for thousands of years. Some believe that maize actually spread west from the Americas to Asia before it spread eastwards from Europe.
2. Sweetcorn gathered popularity in the UK after World War II and is now grown extensively across southern England.
3. Sweetcorn provides useful amounts of vitamins A, B3 (supports metabolism, the nervous and digestive systems) and C. It also contains folic acid (which has anti-cancer properties) and fibre.
4. An ear of corn has about the same number of calories as an apple and less than a quarter the sugar.
5. Corn is grown on every continent except Antarctica.
6. Juices and soft drinks like Coca-Cola and Pepsi contain corn sweeteners. In fact a bushel of corn can sweeten 400 cans of soft drink.
7. The tassel borne at the top of the stalk is the male part and the silk of the ear is the female part.
8. An ear of corn always has even number rows.
9. Corn and its by products are also found in many non-food items such as fireworks, rust preventatives, glue, paint, dyes, laundry detergent, soap, aspirin, antibiotics, paint, shoe polish, ink, cosmetics, the manufacturing of photographic film and in the production of plastics.
10. In the days of the early settlers to North America corn was so valuable that it was used as money and traded for other products such as meat and furs.