Sometimes, there are foods that are difficult to place into a category, or are often confused with the wrong category. Take the tomato for example.
Despite being used as a vegetable for the most part, it is characterized as a fruit.
Corn is one such food that people will be pondering over. Is it a vegetable? Is it a grain?
Well, the answer is not so simple. We’re going to clear this up with this handy guide below, answering all of your biggest corn questions.
Okay, So, What Is Corn?
If we’re answering if corn is a vegetable or a grain, we have to characterize and divide the types of corn. Essentially, corn on the cob (aka whole corn) is technically a vegetable.
However, the corn kernel, which is where we make things like popcorn, is technically wholegrain.
In fact, it can get even more confusing than this. There are many grains that are categorized as fruits because they are sourced from a flower or seed part of a plant.
This of course, is the opposite to vegetables which come from the stem or leaf of the plant.
In short – corn can be known as three things:
You probably weren’t expecting that!
Is Corn Good For You?
So, now we know that corn can be a vegetable, fruit or wholegrain – it’s worth asking if it’s actually good for you or not.
As we know, fruits are considered to be healthy as part of a balanced diet, but are very high in natural sugars, which can lead to obesity and other sugar-related health conditions.
Corn is good for you if it is used as part of a healthy, balanced diet, and you’re using corn without adding heaps of butter or salt. It also has some protein and fiber, so it’s great for providing energy.
Are There Health Benefits To Eating Corn?
The next question is whether eating corn provides any benefits to our overall health. Well, yes and no. On the one hand, corn is high in dietary fiber, which helps us to keep regular bowel movements.
This is particularly useful when we eat too many refined carbohydrates, which are found in processed foods. The fiber content of corn helps to slow down digestion and absorb nutrients better.
On the other hand, corn is high on the glycemic index, meaning that it causes blood glucose levels to rise quickly after consumption.
This means that it may cause an increase in insulin levels, which could potentially lead to diabetes.
However, the amount of carbohydrates in corn is relatively low compared to other starchy foods like potatoes, rice, pasta etc., so it’s unlikely to cause any problems for most people.
How Can I Cook Corn?
Cooking corn is pretty easy; just boil it until tender. If you want to add extra flavor, try roasting it first. Simply put the kernels in a pan, drizzle with olive oil and season well. Then cook at 400 °F for about 10 minutes.
Once cooked, remove from heat and allow cooling before serving.
Can I Eat Corn With Other Foods?
Yes, you can enjoy corn with many other foods, which will come down to your personal preference. Corn on the cob is often used as an ideal side dish at a barbecue for example.
How To Eat Corn
If you’ve never tried corn on the cob before, here are some tips to help you out. First off, don’t worry about cutting it up into pieces.
Just cut around the outside of the cob and pull away the husk. Then, simply peel back the skin and eat the sweet fleshy end.
Corn is best served hot and people enjoy covering it in butter which melts due to the heat, however this is unadvised when it comes to healthy eating.
What Are Some Healthy Recipes Involving Corn?
Here are some simple recipes that use corn.
Roast Corn On The Cob
You will need:
- 1 x ear of corn
- 2 x tablespoons of olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 °F. Remove the husks from the corn and wash thoroughly under cold running water. Place the corn on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and brush with olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. Once done, serve immediately.
Corn Pasta Salad
You will need:
- 100g penne pasta
- Your choice of vegetables
- Salt and pepper
- Low fat mayonnaise
- Fresh garlic
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, onion, parsley, basil and corn. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes or until heated through.
Add the drained pasta and toss together. Serve warm topped with a little more chopped fresh herbs if desired and mix well with the mayonnaise.
The History Of Corn
Corn was one of the earliest cultivated plants in North America. It was introduced by Spanish explorers who brought it to South America in the 1500s.
In 16th century Europe, corn became a staple crop and was grown all across the continent.
In the 17th century, Europeans began growing corn seeds in their own gardens. By the mid 1800s, corn had become a major food source for Americans.
Today, corn is still a mainstay of American agriculture.
Can I Grow Corn At Home?
Yes, you certainly can grow corn at home! You will find that it’s fairly straightforward. There are two types of corn, dent corn and flint corn.
Both have similar growing requirements.
However, there are slight differences between them, so it pays to know what type you’re planting.Dent corn has a smooth, round kernel whereas flint corn has a pointy tip.
Dent corn grows better in cooler climates than flint corn, but both varieties do equally well in warmer regions. When choosing a variety, look for one that’s suited to your region.
Dent corn needs a lot less light than flint corn. If you live in a sunny area, then you should be able to plant a small patch without any problems.
The Bottom Line
Corn is a vegetable, a wholegrain and a fruit, but you can hone in on which depending on what type of corn you are speaking about.
Either way, corn is a good addition to a healthy and balanced diet and tastes great when cooked and prepared well!