Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Sweetcorn (or sweet corn, also known as sugar corn), is a hybridized variety of maize (Zea mays), specifically bred to increase the sugar content. Sweetcorn is commonly known as simply corn in the United States, Canada, and Australia. The fruit of the sweetcorn plant is the corn kernel, a type of fruit called a grain. The ear is a collection of kernels on the cob. The ear is covered by tightly wrapped leaves called the husk. Silk is the name for the pollen tubes. These are both removed by hand, before boiling but not before roasting, in a process called husking or shucking.
Sweetcorn is commonly eaten as a vegetable, rather than a grain. The cobs are picked for relatively rapid distribution (or frozen in this 'soft' state) before the fruits mature into hard grains. The kernels are boiled or steamed and eaten as a side dish, sometimes with butter. Corn on the cob is a sweetcorn cob that has been boiled, steamed, or grilled whole; the kernels are then bitten off the cob with the teeth. Creamed corn sometimes refers to sweetcorn kernels that are cut when removing from the cob to free the juices, and other times to a side dish made with corn and milk.
Sweetcorn may also be eaten in its dry grain form. If left to dry on the plant, kernels may be taken off the cob and cooked with popcorn. Sweetcorn does not pop like popcorn, but expands to about double the original kernel size. The result is what some call corn nuts. A soup may also be made from the plant, called sweet corn soup. Either way, corn is a very successful crop in the United States.
Shoepeg corn is a particularly small, white variety of sweetcorn. Kernels that are allowed to mature to hard grains are used as seed corn or ground into corn flour.
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