What Is Corn Used For: Learn About Unusual Corn Uses

What Is Corn Used For: Learn About Unusual Corn Uses

By: Teo Spengler

Corn on the cob is a popular choice for cookouts, and whogoes to the movies without buying popcorn?That’s not all corn can be used for though. There are lots of alternative usesof corn.

What can you make with corn? The list is pretty longactually. Read on for information on unusual corn uses and tips on how to usecorn in new ways in the kitchen.

What is Corn Used For?

Corn(also called maize) is one of the basic foods for much of the world. Combinedwith rice, it creates a complete protein relied on for sustenance in much ofAfrica and South America. In the United States, corn is considered more of aside vegetable dish, often eaten on the cob or else in kernels from a can. Youdon’t have to look very far though to find more alternative uses of corn.

How to Use Corn in Cooking

If you are wondering about alternative uses of corn, firstconsider different types of corn-based recipes. Corn tortillas and corn chipsare familiar foods made from corn that you can prepare yourself at home. Otherdelicious recipes to try include corn bread, corn cob jelly, corn fritters,corn casserole, and corn salsa.

For more unusual corn uses in the kitchen, think aboutdesserts. They don’t call it “sweetcorn” for nothing! Corn works very well to add starch and creamy texturesto desserts. You can make sweet corn ice cream, sweet corn crème brulee, oreven chocolate hazelnut sweet corn cake.

What Can You Make with Corn?

It may surprise you that the majority of corn grown thesedays does not go to food production. It is used to make ethanol gas, batteries,plastics, crayons, whiskey, glue, and cough drops.

Cornstarch (a corn derivative) is a common ingredient inhygiene products, matchsticks, and many medications and vitamins. It is used asa thickening agent in liquids and substituted for talc in powders.

What is corn used for in medications? Often, the vegetableis used in the form of cornstarch to bind medication and helps pills hold theirform. It also helps tablets disintegrate after they are ingested. Finally, cornis rich in vitamin C. Many vitamin C supplements are made from corn.

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Can You Eat Ornamental Indian Corn?

The hard, multicolored ears of corn that decorate tabletops and front doors around this time of year are, in theory, edible. If you cooked ornamental corn and ate it right off the cob, it would taste pretty bland, but it wouldn’t hurt you, according to Edith Munro, communications manager for the Iowa Corn Growers Association.

That’s because it’s all starch. During the early stages of corn’s maturation process, the kernels are filled with a milky material that is primarily sugars, which is why it tastes so sweet when it’s cooked. As the corn continues to age, however, those sugars break down into starches.

“Gradually, corn has been bred to retain its sweetness,” Munro says, as well as for its uniform yellow coloring. Corn that’s not commercially bred has been lumped into the genre of “Indian corn.” Some varieties of Indian corn are now grown for ornamental use only.

Other varieties of colored corn are still grown and used for food. They’re generally ground into cornmeal and eaten in the form of tacos, corn chips, and so on. (See some Chowhound recommendations for blue corn.)

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Corn Bake

1 (15 oz.) can cream style corn
1 (10 oz.) can whole kernel corn
3 eggs, beaten
1 (8 oz.) box corn muffin mix
1/2 cup margarine
1 green onion, chopped
1/4-1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1 cup sour cream
Cheese, grated

Mix the first 4 ingredients. Saute onion and pepper in margarine. Add to corn mixture. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish, spread with sour cream and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350° about 1 hour, until center is set.

Making Your Own Microbial Inoculant

But perhaps you’d prefer to make your own inoculant, maybe to save money or to be more sustainable or because you just think it would be cool, man.

What we’re going to do is gather and multiply Lactobacillus bacteria, which are especially beneficial microbes.

I learned this process from Gil Carandang of Herbana Farms in the Philippines.

Personally, I’ve mostly just done it for fun because Lactobacillus also come in EM, which is something I use a lot and know is more useful.

Still, culturing Lactobacillus is great for people who don’t have something like EM.

Cowboy Caviar (aka Texas Caviar)

This version of "caviar" isn't fancy and is totally vegetarian. The black eyed pea–based salsa is popular in Texas, and you can make it using many types of canned goods (black-eyed peas, black beans, and corn) plus fresh ingredients like cilantro, red onion, green bell pepper, avocado, and roma tomato.

Get the recipe from Cooking Classy.

Watch the video: Corn Cube