General information and profile:
Corn or Zea mays describes a multi-species species within the grasses, whose cultivation as a crop for the production of food, feed and energy is important worldwide. It is an annual plant that carries male and female flowers and can reach stature heights of several meters. From the female flowers, which are wrapped in so-called Lieschen, the light green vaginal leaves, corn fibers form out. From this develop the corncobs, which carry several thousand, depending on the species yellowish to golden yellow or reddish grains. The grains are arranged in eight to sixteen longitudinal rows. Only a maximum of two corncobs ripen on a plant. In contrast, the male flowers, which are located at the top of the corn plant, form panicles. Corn thrives best in warm and humid climates. In dry summer seasons, smaller grains are formed due to lack of water.
History of the cultivation of corn:
Today, corn is considered one of the most important crops ever for its versatile uses and is harvested in quantities of up to eight hundred million tonnes annually. He is originally from Mexico, where he was already cultivated as food in the third millennium BC, as numerous archaeological finds prove. The first wild forms that humans have used were found in once inhabited caves near Puebla and are over six thousand years old. In the late fifteenth century, the Spanish explorers finally brought the tall grass to Europe, where humans cultivated the unknown plant exclusively for ornamentation. Later he was cultivated as a fodder for livestock. The common varieties of sweetcorn, which are important as cereal plants, probably originated as mutations or crosses during the 18th or 19th century.
Today, the United States is considered the world's most important country in the cultivation of corn. More than fifteen percent of all US acreage is used for this crop. Much of the corn consumed in Europe comes from the USA. In Europe, sweetcorn is cultivated mainly in Spain, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, but Germany and Austria are also producers of this cereal. Today, up to 50,000 different varieties of cultivated maize are known.
Use of corn:
In the United States and Europe, much of the crop is used as feed for poultry, pigs and cattle or is important as a staple food. Corn kernels and small corncobs are available in canned foods and can be used to prepare salads, stews and vegetable dishes. Fresh corncobs that are in late summer and fall season are cooked or grilled and served with melted butter. Fresh corn is considered to be a very healthy vegetable that is well tolerated by the balanced composition of carbohydrates and proteins and contains a high content of valuable nutrients such as vitamins A, C and B and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iron and potassium.
Corn is also important for the production of corn oil, corn starch, breakfast cereals, semolina and popcorn. As an additive corn is also present in various foods such as ready-made sauces, polenta, cheese, lemonade, peanut butter, sausages and sweeteners and is required for the production of ascorbic acid, xylitol, sucrose, syrup, margarine, thickening agents and maltodextrin. After long storage, the sugar contained in the plant fibers converts into starch. However, flour made from corn can not be used for baking despite its high starch content because it does not contain gluten. Also in pharmaceuticals, sanitary products such as diapers and batteries and in fuels corn is included.