You see the wonderful multicolor corn everywhere in New England this time of year. I always want to take pictures, between the contrast in textures and all the colors they contain.
I also normally think of the geneticist Barbra McClintock and her discovery of jumping genes, which I’ve mentioned before.
But I don’t actually pay much attention to the varieties of corn themselves.
This multicolored, almost ubiquitous for a month or two type is sometimes called flint corn. As in the kernels ‘are hard as flint.’ They have a softer starch at the center of the kernel and a thick, hard starch on the outside. It also has a lower water content than other corns, so is much more resistant to freezing.
Flint corn dries very hard and lasts a long time. Good for food storage, or traveling, or for decoration! It is not ‘wild’ corn as is sometimes mentioned, but it is probably the oldest known cultivated variation at this point.
In comparison most of the corn mass grown for livestock and industrial uses is called dent corn-it has more soft starch leaves a little dent at the top of each kernel. And what most people think of as corn on the cob corn is sweet corn, also with a higher soft starch and water content.
And if you want a further breakdown of corn types and uses, Serious Eats has you covered!