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Friday Food Fact: Corn – A grain, vegetable, or a fruit?

Wow, I recently found out that corn, botanically speaking, is considered a fruit!  Most people think of corn as a vegetable.  But, what about popcorn or cornmeal?  Read below as we dig deeper into this little yellow (sometimes white or blue) seed.

Corn Tostada Night! Just in time for Halloween, I encourage you to let your kids ‘play’ with their food by making tostadas into Jack-O-Lanterns. 

For one tostada, we used yellow bell pepper cut outs on top of black beans then melted mozzarella.  The other has cheddar cheese cut outs on top of black ‘refried’ (really, its just mashed beans) beans. These mini blue corn tortillas are a specialty item. So, if not available for you, just use regular corn tortillas, and crisp up in the oven for 8-10 minutes on 400 degrees. No need to by special ‘tostadas’.  Add your favorite toppings. What you see here is a mixture of pinto beans, mashed black beans, taco meat (made from ground venison), cheese, guacamole, bell peppers, and a dab of Greek Yogurt.  Everyone likes something different, so that’s a great think about tostado night – please everyone by building your own!

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Let’s tackle the debate of whether corn is healthy to consume.  It is actually a compound of carbohydrates that is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B Complex,  and Fiber, with 4.5 grams of fiber in each cup of corn. Fiber is important, because it helps improve bowel movements through the intestines. It also helps reduce the risk of colon cancer. The fiber also helps lower blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Since it is free of gluten, it can be safely consumed by those allergic to gluten.

So what is it?

Corn seed is actually a vegetable, grain, and fruit. It is a vegetable because it is harvested for eating. Corn seed is a grain because it is a dry seed of a grass species. And, botanically, its really a fruit.

Let’s call it a vegetable grain that is enjoyed in a variety of ways. We can prepare many foods from corn like cornbread, popcorn, tortillas (and tostadas), corn chips, and more.  We can also eat it fresh, as a vegetable, just after removing the husk.  There is also frozen and canned corn, making it a very convenient food!

So this debate still continues for some, but we should learn that it can be a healthy grain and/or vegetable to consume and just to enjoy the sweetness of corn.

 

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