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See also: History of Corn; Corn Trivia; Corn Quotes; Corn Recipes
(Vegetables) Because of its high protein and carbohydrate content, corn has been an important nutritional resource for thousands of years. Corn can be traced back to Mexican or central American cultures as early as 3400 B.C., and has become a staple among Native American civilizations throughout the Western Hemisphere. Today, corn has less starch and is sweeter. The sweetness accounts for its popularity among Americans. Americans consume about 25 pounds of corn per person annually, most of which is frozen or canned. A good thing about corn is that frozen and canned corn has about the same nutritional value as fresh corn. So, for the many Americans who are not able to get fresh corn, they can still enjoy frozen or canned for nearly the same nutritional value as fresh corn.
There are more than two hundred varieties of corn. All are good sources of vitamin C, but only yellow kernels contain small amounts of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene.
How to Select
Make sure the husks are green, tight and fresh looking. Pull the husk open to make sure that the ear contains tightly packed rows of plump kernels. The kernels should be smaller at the tip of each ear. Large kernels at the tip is a sign of overmaturity. If you pinch a kernel, milky juice should spurt out. Corn should be stored in a cool area. Warmth causes the sugar content of corn to be converted into starch. This process will cause the ears to become less sweet.
If the corn is not cooked shortly after it is purchased, then it should be stored in refrigerator. Refrigeration helps the corn retain its sugar and vitamin C content. If you buy unhusked corn, keep it in its husk until you are ready to cook it. This will help the corn retain its moisture content. To fully enjoy the great taste of sweet corn, cook it as soon as possible. The sooner the better is a good "rule of thumb."
Make Corn Part of Your 5 A Day Plan
* Grilled corn is a tasty summer treat. Grill it with the husk still on to retain flavor. Instead of using margarine, butter, or salt on your corn, try fresh herbs, light dressings, and or lemon.
* Corn kernels are a great addition when mixed with other vegetables.
* Try adding corn to your favorite vegetable soups, in rice to add color, or in tossed salads.
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