Some people tell me that as teenagers, they used to sneak to the edge of a farmer’s cornfield and swipe a few ears. Hmmm. I’m guessing the farmer would have said ‘yes’ if they’d asked, but it does raise an interesting question: what’s the best kind of corn to swipe?
Until Melissa and I moved out into the country, I didn’t realize that farmers plant two types of corn. The first is sweet corn. It’s what people eat. It, not surprisingly, is sweet. Sweet corn is harvested when the kernels are nice and moist, and the plant is still green.
The second kind of corn is field corn, or livestock corn. It’s what livestock eat. This isn’t very sweet. This corn is left on the field to dry out, and isn’t harvested until the plant—and the kernels—are dry.
But for a few months, both types exist side by side. I’ve been fascinated by this little secret that most people don’t notice as they whiz by on the highway: You can tell the difference between sweet corn and field corn by the color of the tassels.
Sweet corn tassels are whitish-yellow. Field corn tassels are orangish.
See the difference?
It’s probably not a good idea to steal a farmer’s corn, but at the very least, you can impress friends and family with your knowledge when you pass the two different types of corn.
Hope everyone had some sweet corn for their Labor Day picnic, ’cause the season (at least up here in the north) is almost over.