In the Past: Corn originated in Central America almost 7,000 years ago, and has been grown as an important staple crop by Native American’s since then. When European explores arrived in America, corn was being grown from the coast of Chile all the way up to Canada. It quickly became an important crop worldwide, and remains so today. It is the only cereal grain native to the Americas.
In the Soil: Corn grows on a tall stalk (6-10 feet tall) with slender pointed leaves. It is partly an important crop because of how much can be produced from a given plot of land, due to how closely the stalks can be planted together. Several ears of corn 6 to 12 inches long develop on each stalk.
In the Body: There are many kinds of corn around the world, and each variety has its own unique mix of micro and macro-nutrients. For example dry corn grown for livestock feed has much more starch than sweet corn grown for eating fresh off the cob. Fresh cooked corn is high in folic acid, potassium, thiamine and dietary fiber. Dried ground cornmeal is a good source of magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, vitamin B6, thiamin, zinc, and iron.
In the Kitchen: Corn is a truly versatile grain. It can be cooked fresh and eaten off the cob, added to salads and baked goods. Varieties grown for flour are dried and ground to produce cornmeal and flour. Other varieties are good for popping!
In Connecticut: Fresh sweet corn is generally available in Connecticut in July, August and September.