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I was flipping through my local paper yesterday (in search of more Halloween adventures) when the words, “Huge 7 acre corn maze” practically leapt off the page. Since I live in the sunshine state, I was surprised (but like any big kid delighted). After all, Florida isn’t exactly the corn growing capital of the country. But sure enough, when I checked the pick-your-own web site (which also lists pumpkin patches and corn mazes by state), there it was.
Now, I’m a big fan of corn (playing in it as well as eating it). But corn is kinda like the Rodney Dangerfield of produce – it gets no respect. But it actually deserves some acclaim. Corn may seem lower in nutrients than other plant foods, but there’s more there than meets the eye (or ear, tee-hee). Corn is actually rich in disease fighting phytochemicals (are you sick of hearing me talk about those body guards by now?), including lutein which protects against age-related vision loss (the top cause of blindness among aging Americans).
And corn isn’t devoid of nutrients (just looking at the Nutrition Facts panel on a can or frozen bag is deceiving). One cup cooked actually provides between 15 and 25% of the vitamin B1, fiber, folate, and magnesium we need daily. And finally, it’s pretty darn delicious. In fact, some of my favorite foods are made from corn (popcorn, corn on the cob, corn tortillas, polenta, and of course cornbread – yum. Have you ever tried cornmeal pizza crust? It’s fantastic!).
Ok, I’m off to investigate this maize maze. But before I go, a few nuggets:
-The U.S. is the top producer of corn on the planet, producing almost half the world’s harvest
-Aside from yellow, corn varieties include red, pink, black, and blue
-Corn is believed to be native to either Mexico or Central America
-Corn is actually a member of the grass family and is really a grain rather than a vegetable
-Whole corn (i.e. not degerminated) is a whole grain
P.S. I snapped this photo at my local market – isn’t fall fabulous?