Thursday, July 10, 2014

Grain of the Week - 28 - Maize or Corn

Maize or Corn as it is called in the US needs no introduction. It is ubiquitous as a food ingredient. It is predominantly used in processed food and today even in fuel. US beats the world in the production of this grain. In terms of weight corn far out weighs any other grain in production. Corn is said to have been domesticated in Mexico and spread from there and the Americas to other countries. Today the leading producers of corn include US, China, Mexico, Brazil and India among others.

Corn as a whole grain is full of nutrients and is also high in fiber. It is nutritionally rich when eaten as a whole grain. It can be made into bread, puffed into popcorn which are all nutritionally rich.

In today's diet it is hard to escape corn. It is included in almost all of the processed foods and the worst of them being its utility as the raw material for high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Cane sugar is not cheap but once HFCS came into being sweeteners became cheap enough to be used as fillers in a lot of the processed foods.

About 86% of US corn is genetically modified(GM). It is used as feed for cattle, chicken and other industrially raised meat animals. So you really cannot escape corn.

All of these do not make it bad, just have to the whole grain and avoid as many of the processed foods that contain corn. If you are buying whole corn look for the Organic kind which are on-GMO.

There are plenty of tasty foods that can be made with corn. The ones most familiar to us and made with dried corn is popcorn, with cornmeal - polenta, corn bread, makki di roti(popular in India) and tortilla. While fresh and still on the cob they are boiled, grilled, roasted and enjoyed.

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