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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

PRODUCT: Sweet Red Corn

Sweet red corn. Photo courtesy


Corn has been cultivated for 5600 years or longer. Scientists believe it originated in Central America.

Corn grows in various colors: the ubiquitous yellow and white varieties, as well as red, white, purple, bicolor and tricolor. The latter colors are mostly grown as decorative corn (our mom always hangs an assortment on the front door during harvest season).

But more recently, agricultural colleges and corn breeders have brought sweet red corn to market as a treat for the eyes and the taste buds. Sweet red corn also has 20% more protein than white or yellow corn. The outer layer (pericarp) is red; The flesh underneath (the endosperm) is white.

Exceptionally sweet in flavor, the corn’s red pigment (anthocyanin, an antioxidant) deepens in color when cooked, turning blue when boiled, purple when microwaved and purple and maroon when roasted.

  • Grill or roast it as corn on the cob (the color can bleed out when boiled). Grilling with the husks on keeps the bright red color.
  • Add as a garnish to regular corn soup, or make red corn soup.
  • Add the raw kernels to a green salad or bean salad, or make a red corn salad.

    The growing season for sweet red corn is June through September. Look for Colorful Harvest sweet red corn at your local market, or purchase it online from The season is mid-June to October for California corn; Florida sweet red corn is available in April and May.

    Sweet corn (maize) is grown for human consumption. Grain corn is fed to livestock and made into products. According to Purdue University, about 75% of the grain corn grown in the U.S. is used for animal feed. Another 12% to 15% of the annual crop is processed into corn oil, corn oil meal, corn sugar, corn syrup, gluten feed and meal, starch, whiskey and processed human food such as corn flakes, corn meal, hominy and grits. About 10% of grain corn is exported as grain or corn products.


    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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