By Jessica Domel
From the moment you wake up in the morning to the time you lie down at night, corn is in your life. It could be in your bedding, carpet, fuel, soda, beef, crayons, plastic and more.
But not all corn is made the same. In fact, the majority of corn you see growing in the Lone Star State is what we call field or feed corn. It’s similar, but different than the corn you find in a can, the frozen food section and on your plate. That’s sweet corn.
Here are five major differences between field corn and sweet corn:
1) Field corn is often used to feed livestock, in ethanol production and manufactured goods. It’s also used to create high fructose corn syrup, corn starch and other products.
Sweet corn is consumed largely by humans.
2) Field corn is harvested when its kernels are hard and dry.
Sweet corn is picked when it’s tender so it’s easier to eat. It’s also much sweeter than field corn.
3) Field corn kernels are hard on the outside and starchy on the inside.
When cooked, sweet corn kernels are tender on the outside and juicy on the inside. YUM!
4) In the field, feed corn grows much taller than sweet corn and has fuller leaves. Most of the corn you see growing on the side of the road in Texas is field–or feed–corn.
5) They’re harvested differently as well. When combined, field corn is stripped from the cob. Kernels are taken from the field and stored until they’re needed.
When sweet corn is harvested, it’s picked on the cob to maintain flavor and juiciness.
So whether you’re biting into a juicy ear of sweet corn or simply filling up your car, know that part of your day was brought to you by American corn farmers.