A PLANT ORIGINATING IN MEXICO
Native to the mountain valleys of Mexico, teosinte was gradually domesticated to become corn. It took humans nearly 7,000 years to select varieties of this very popular tropical plant that would be suited to growing in temperate climates. Thus, when the Europeans landed in America in the 15th century, corn was already being grown throughout the continent. They then exported it and began farming it in Europe and Africa, then later on in Asia too. Today, China is the world’s second largest producer and France is the biggest producer in Europe!
The crop captures four times more carbon from the air than a forest with the same surface area! Corn is a spring crop. In France, the cereal is sown in April-May and harvested between September and November. The plant has the distinctive characteristic of being able to reach two to four metres in height! It doesn’t require a great deal of water, but does need a regular supply to ensure that the ears swell.
A MULTI-PURPOSE PLANT!
Today, there are many varieties of corn. 4,000 are authorised in Europe!
Corn truly is a multi-purpose plant rich in starch. Of course, it can be eaten by humans in the form of popcorn, sweetcorn or flour, but corn is also widely used in animal feed, constituting one of the mainstays of our herds’ feed ration.
However, this plant is now also used to make bioethanol and recyclable packaging.
WHAT MAKES CORN POP?
When you heat a corn kernel, you cause the water within the kernel to boil. The grain’s tegument (or skin) being very tough, it will prevent the steam from escaping immediately and will cause a rise in pressure inside the grain which is mostly composed of starch. As with a pressure cooker, this hot pressure will cook the starch until the tegument splits, releasing the steam and at the same time “expanding” the cooked starch. Not just any corn will do: you have to select a variety which is rich in starch, ensure good water content at harvest, and have a tegument which is tough, but not too tough.
At Menguy’s, our French corn is rigorously selected and guaranteed GMO-free.