Is Corn a Vegetable, a Fruit Or a Grain?
Corn is a versatile food that can be eaten on the cob or mixed into soups. It can also be boiled, steamed, and grilled.
Corn is often labeled a vegetable, which it is in a culinary sense. It is a starchy vegetable that is more energizing than leafy greens or cruciferous vegetables.
Is Corn a vegetable, aka maize, is one of the world’s most popular grains. It was domesticated in what is now Mexico around 6,000 years ago, from a weedy relative called teosinte.
Today, the plant is a food staple throughout the Americas and parts of Asia. It is a member of the grass family (called Poaceae) and has many unique features, including its big, massive cob with hundreds of kernels.
However, it is a bit of an anomaly that defies classification. As a result, it can be confusing to understand what exactly corn is and whether it fits into any of the three main categories of fruit, vegetable and grain.
According to the USDA, fresh corn on the cob that is harvested when the kernels are soft and full of liquid is considered a vegetable. While it’s high in carbs and calories, this type of corn is more energizing for your body than dry, hard-cooked corn.
Usually, the word “vegetable” refers to any herbaceous plant whose fruit, seeds, roots, tubers, bulbs or stems are used as food. In some cases, this definition can be a bit arbitrary.
However, the term can also be helpful when it comes to gardening or cooking. Understanding the difference between a vegetable and a fruit crop can help you avoid some of the problems that arise when growing a particular variety.
Corn is a popular summertime vegetable that’s grown in many parts of the world. Available in yellow, white and a blend of the two, it’s a starchy carbohydrate that can be enjoyed creamed, on the cob or in a soup.
Corn is often referred to as a grain because of its kernels that can be used to make cornmeal or popcorn. Popcorn is a whole grain because it contains all of the bran, germ and endosperm of the corn.
Corn, like other starchy vegetables, is a great source of nutrients such as dietary fiber and protein. It also contains antioxidants that help fight free radicals and other potentially harmful compounds in the body.
Its high fiber content helps make corn feel filling, which can lead to less overeating. Plus, its resistant starch can help slow digestion and reduce the amount of calories you burn.
As a vegetable, corn is typically higher in carbohydrates and calories than vegetables like leafy greens or cruciferous veggies (think broccoli). It can be included as a part of a healthy diet, says Christine Byrne, MPH, RD, LDN, a registered dietitian and owner of Christine Byrne Nutrition.
However, because corn is used in a lot of highly processed foods, it tends to have less fiber and other nutrients than fresh versions. And when the corn is used in these processed products, it often comes with added salt, sugar, and fat to add flavor and texture.
The corn plant, or maize, is a tall annual grass. It is cultivated in many regions worldwide as a food crop, and as a biofuel and industrial feedstock.
The ear of corn, or cob, is the edible part of the plant. It consists of hundreds to thousands of individual kernels, each with a fruit wall (pericarp) attached to a seed coat inside.
A common misconception is that each of the kernels in an ear of corn are seeds. While this may be the case in some types of fruit, in corn they are a type of dry fruit called a caryopsis.
Caryopses are a type of dry fruit that don’t have a lot of flesh to keep them from drying out. When a caryopsis ripens, the ovary wall and seed coat fuse into one layer. This makes them a good drying food. It also means that each kernal in an ear of corn only needs to grow for about 400-600 times before it is fully mature.
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