Types of Corn and When is Corn Season across the World. All you need to know about Corn varieties, where and when to peak.
Corn is a New World food, and Europeans didn’t enjoy it until after Columbus sailed the ocean blue. In Europe, they call corn maize, which comes from the American-Indian word mahiz.
Many Americans toss all but the corn kernels, but the entire plant has household uses: the husks work for tamales, cobs can thicken stocks and the stalks are great for animal feed. Some folks even make medicinal teas from the corn silk.
When is Corn Season and When is Corn Ready to Harvest
Peak season lasts from May through September. Corn is ready for harvest about 20 days after the silk first appears.
Corn grows in a rainbow of colors — from yellow to purple to white to brown and some multicolored. The two most popular types are white and yellow. The different varieties all have fun names, too! “Silver Queen” is a sweet corn with white kernels and a creamy texture. “Tuxedo” is another variety of sweet corn that is yellow with 8-inch ears. “Temptation” is one of the most popular varieties of sweet corn and is typically eaten on the cob and has narrow 7-inch ears with bi-color kernels.
Peak season lasts from May through September. Because sweet corn is grown in all 50 states, you can easily find it at your farmers’ markets or corner farm stand. In fact, 40% of the world’s corn comes from the U.S. and half of that goes to feeding livestock. Canada, China and Brazil are also big corn growers. Beyond just animal feed or corn on the cob, corn byproducts go into creating bourbon, corn oil, cornstarch and, of course, the infamous high fructose corn syrup.
Corn is a starchy vegetable (technically, the kernel is a grain), which makes it higher in calories than other veggies; calorie-wise, it’s similar to grains such as rice. One cup of cooked corn contains 130 calories and 1.8 grams of fat.
It’s an excellent source of thiamin, a B-vitamin that helps produce energy, and a good source of fiber, protein, vitamin C and potassium.
It’s also packed with lutein, saponins, and maizenic acid — all phytochemicals that have been associated with heart health and cancer prevention. Corn also contains yellow carotenoid pigments, including eye-protecting antioxidant zeaxanthin.
TYPES OF CORN
There are six types of corn kernels: flint, flour, dent, pop, sweet, and waxy. Flour corn is mostly grown in the Andean region of South America and is used to make corn flour. Waxy corn is grown in China and has a texture that is more like glutinous rice. Grab some butter and salt, and let’s look at some of the different types of corn and how a few farmers are trying to keep corn diversity alive.
Some can fall under other classifications, so be careful about which ones share the same characteristics.
Let’s go over them one by one.