CORN. The title "corn" is used in a general way to designate all the principal grains —wheat, rye, etc.—but as particularly applied in this country it refers to "Indian Corn" or "Maize"—the most beautiful and luxuriant of all grain "grasses," resembling rather the sugar cane of the tropics than other cereals, and the most abundant in product. It is native to this country and was used as food by the Indians centuries before the era of Columbus, and probably by the civilization which antedated the "Red Man." Corn is lower in protein than hard wheat and oats, but is fully equal in that respect to other grains and it surpasses many in the proportion of fat or oil. It does not make as good bread for general purposes as wheat because of its smaller pro portion of gliadin, but otherwise its use as a food ranks very high in national importance —being enjoyed in a great variety of styles—coarse ground into hominy, cornmeal, etc., and boiled as "hominy," "mush" or "hasty pudding," or baked in hoe-cakes, johnny cakes, corn bread and muffins, converted into syrup, ground fine as "corn-starch" for puddings, etc., eaten green—boiled with beans to make "succotash" or "on the cob," and canned for use when "green corn" is unobtainable—and very often preferably when it is.
The consumption of canned corn has grown to very large proportions, the annual output of the State of Maine alone reaching about twenty-three million cans a year. Maryland, New York, Indiana, Ohio and other States are also constantly increasing the big totals of their products.
The average annual crop of corn in the United States is about 3,000,000,000 bushels. This staggering total is variously utilized. Part of it is employed in the starch, brewery, whisky, glucose and other industries and part in the food products already mentioned, but the bulk is transformed into meat—for corn is our most important live stock food, rounding out the steer and putting fat on the hog. Comparatively little is exported as grain, but a very large quantity, an annual value of a great many million dollars, in the form of meat products—cattle and swine on the hoof, fresh, salted and canned, and lard and various other items.
The greater part of the 'Weld corn" grown is of the "Dent" species, sub-divided into innumerable varieties, but capable of a general grouping into two classes—"yel low" and "white." It is this field corn which is used in the manufacture of cornmeal, hominy, corn-starch, corn syrup, etc., and for cattle food.
Of the other kinds, the best known commercially are "sweet corn"—grown prin cipally for canning and for green corn "on the cob," and pop-corn (which see).
Sweet corn is distinguished by its crinkled, semi-transparent appearance when dry. When cut for green corn, it should always be consumed as soon as possible after picking as it deteriorates rapidly in holding. The husks should be bright and fresh look ing. Wilted or partly dried specimens should be avoided. ' The corn grain may be divided into the germ (the oily part), the endosperm (the body of the corn, consisting principally of starch, together with some gluten), and the hull or "bran." In the manufacture of corn products such as starch, syrup, etc., the initial step is the separation of these parts by steeping, grinding, etc.
The germs are used in the manufacture of Corn Oil (see following).
The hulls are mixed with the water used in steeping the corn before separation, and the water containing the gluten separated from the starch of the kernel (see STARCH), the product being used as cattle-feed.
From the starch are produced three principal varieties of products : (1) Dry starches of various qualities, both edible and laundry.
(2) Corn syrups and corn sugars of divers grades (see CORN SUGAR, CORN SYRUP and GLUCOSE).
(3) Dextrins (see DEXTRIN).
The Corn Products Refining Company furnish the following table, giving in detail the trade products of the grain. See also Color Pages, opposite and facing 186.