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Corn is delicious, nutritious, and can be found in many different types of food and products. Did you know there are different types of corn? In this article we are going to review 6 different varieties of corn.
According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, the United States produced 15.1 billion bushels of corn in 2021. Although most of this corn is used for things other than dinner, corn is still a huge part of what we consume day to day.
Corn is one of the oldest domesticated crops, being grown almost 9,000 years ago. There are at least 6 types of corn varieties: flint, flour, dent, sweet, wax, and pop.
What are the different Types of Corn
1. Sweet Corn
Sweet corn is the fresh corn we eat straight off the cob or cut from the cob. It's harvested during the milk stage, when the ears of corn are still young so they are not dried and the sugar hasn't turned into starch. This is why it has such a delicious, sweet flavor.
Sweet corn gets its name from the high sugar content. This variety comes in yellow, white, and multi-colored. There are many types of supersweet varieties like Silver Queen, Peaches and Cream, Honey Select, Jubilee, Butter and Suger, and more.
2. Dent Corn
Dent corn is also known as field corn. The name refers to the dent shape at the top of each kernel. This type of corn has a high starch content and is low in sugar which makes it not very tasty. Most of the corn grown in the United States is yellow dent corn.
The majority of dent corn is dried and then used for livestock feed. It also can be processed and used to make food like corn syrup, corn chips, corn flakes, and corn tortillas.
3. Flint Corn
This corn variety can also be referred to as calico corn or Indian corn. Native Americans have been cultivating this corn for years.
The name flint corn comes from the super hard shells of the corn kernels that "are as hard as flint". You can find this variety in range of colors. Because of the beautiful colors, people often use it as decorative corn during the holidays.
Flint corn is typically grown in Central and South America and is high in nutrients. The kernels can be dried and used for things like grits, polenta, and corn meal.
4. Flour Corn
Soft shells and starchy kernels set flour corn apart from others. The soft starch makes these kernels easy to grind which is perfect to make corn flour.
Flour corn is sweeter than Flint corn but not as sweet as sweet corn.
You will find most corn flour to have a white color but it can also be found in other colors like blue.
5. Wax Corn
Starch content is what sets apart waxy corn from dent corn. Wax corn contains almost 100% amylopectin while regular corn contains 25% amylose and 75% amylopectin.
Once wax corn is processed, the corn starch works well as a stabilizer and thickener in different food products. Wax corn starch is also used in some glues that can be found on envelope backing and even on cardboard boxes.
6. Pop Corn
Popcorn is a popular snack to make at home or find in the movie theaters. It's actually a different type of flint corn. Popcorn kernels have a hard outer shell with a soft starchy middle.
When the kernels are warmed and reach the right temperature, about 212 degrees F, the outer shell coverts moisture to steam that then builds pressure and pops which creates the delicious, fluffy, edible popcorn.
Recipes using different Corn types
Corn can be prepared in many different ways. Some favorite corn recipes include:
Corn Varieties FAQs
Corn comes in many different colors. From yellow, white, blue, red, green, even pink corn.
Field corn is harvested when the kernels are hard and is used to feed animals. Sweet corn is harvested with the kernels are sweet and soft, the milky stage.
The variety of corn used for popcorn is called Zea Mays Everta.
According to the USDA, corn can be either a grain or a vegetable depending on when it’s harvested.
There are 6 major types of corn: flint, dent, sweet, wax, flour, and popcorn.