Thursday, April 20, 2017

Origins and History of Sweet Corn

Origins and History of Sweet Corn
Origins and History of Sweet Corn
Origins and History of Sweet Corn

Gardeners' Guide to Growing Sweet Corn
Gardeners' Guide to Growing Sweet Corn
The grain crop that Americans call corn has many different types. These include dent corn, flint corn, flour corn, popcorn, sweet corn, waxy corn, and pod corn. Mystery shrouds the origins of corn, or maize. Corn originated in the Americas from wild grasses. All varieties probably have similar beginnings through crossings with different forms of grass, gamagrass and teosinte among the most likely species. These crossings probably occurred naturally, forming the first primitive maize varieties. Archaeologists have found corn pollen in soil samples from soils 200 feet below Mexico City, Mexico, that are 80,000 years old. Scientists have also carbon-dated corncobs found in New Mexico bat caves that are around 56,000 years old. Most historians think that the first maize varieties originated in the Tehuacan Valley of Mexico. The original wild forms of maize have become extinct.
Introduction to Europe
Amerindians further developed the grain, which they introduced to Christopher Columbus on his first voyage in 1492 while Columbus explored Cuba On November 5.  There is disagreement among historians about whether Columbus took maize back to Europe on his first, or second, voyage. Regardless, he did take it back. Europeans at first considered it a novelty crop but eventually understood that it was a valuable food source. Cultivation of corn gradually spread over Europe.
Sweet corn occurs as a natural mutation from field corn. Various Amerindian tribes grew sweet corn. The Iroquois introduced sweet corn, which they called Papoon to the colonists around 1779. The vegetable soon became popular and spread throughout the colonies. These corns were different from the corn we consume today. These were white, black and orange sweet corn varieties grown by the Amerindians. This corn originated in Peru and made its way to the North American tribes by the late Fourteenth Century. The Amerindians used slow ripening late season varieties to store during the winter for food. Another way they prepared it was to caramelize it in the husk over hot coals until the kernels were dry. They stored this corn until they needed it. To reconstitute it they stewed it with beans.

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