Corn Types

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You should learn about the different corn types before you purchase corn seeds so you know exactly what you will be growing. Not all corn is sweet. Most people want to grow sweet corn for the incredible sugary taste, but most varieties of corn are not sweet.

Four varieties of corn are in this photo. Only the bottom two are sweet corn.

Learn About Corn Types

Below is a brief description about all of the corn types so you can decide what kind of corn will work best for you.


Dent Corn

Dent Corn is also known as Field Corn. It is not very sweet and is not juicy like sweet corn. You will notice a dent on the top of every kernel, which is where it gets its name. This corn is grow primarily as feed for animals, to make high fructose corn syrup, and to make corn flour, corn chips, corn tortillas, and taco shells.

Dent corn is the number one type of corn grown in the United States.


Flint Corn

Flint Corn is not sweet and has less starch than Dent Corn, which makes it harder. You may know it as Indian Corn, the kind of colorful corn ears you see in the stores in the fall in shades of blues, purples, reds, browns, blacks or mixed ears. Because it is not pleasant to eat like sweet corn but so pretty to look at, here in the United States, we use it in our Autumn decor.

Flint Corn is the type of corn used to make hominy. The corn is dried, soaked, and cooked in a special process called nixtamalization. It is then either used whole for hominy, coarsely ground for grits, or finely ground for corn flour.

This corn is primarily grown in South America.


Flour Corn

Flour Corn is a special type of corn with a hard shell and a starchy soft texture on the inside of the kernel. Finely ground corn flour is a substitute for wheat flower for people with gluten allergies. It is primarily grown in South America.


Pod Corn

Pod Corn is also known as Ornamental Corn or Wild Corn. It has leaves growing around each kernel and is grown in Central and South America.


Popcorn

I think we all know what popcorn is. Hot, delicious popped kernels that smell heavenly with butter and salt is enjoyed by most Americans at the movies or while watching TV. But did you know you can grow your own?

Popcorn has moisture and oil inside each kernel. When heated, it explodes and turns into a wonderful treat. This corn type cannot be popped right after harvest as there is too much moisture for it to properly pop. It must be dried for several months. If you dry it for too long, it won't pop. It will be Old Maid kernels.

Did you know that you can actually pop this corn type right on the ear? It is so much fun!


Sweet Corn

Who doesn't love sweet corn on the cob in the summer or anytime of the year? Nothing says summer fun more than a cookout with everybody's favorite, ears of buttery, salted, sweet corn.

But did you know that there are different kinds of sweet corn types? Read below.


Normal Sweet

This corn is the type of corn that Grandma used to cook in the summer. Harvest it and cook right away because the sugars rapidly turn into starch, taking away that sugary sweetness. This is delicious as long as you cook it as soon as you can. Don't wait or the sweet flavor goes away.


Sugary Enhanced

Sugary Enhanced varieties of corn are sweet and delicious, but also extra tender. The conversion from sugar to starch once the corn has been picked is slower so you don't have to cook the corn as soon as it is picked for maximum flavor.


Super Sweet

Super Sweet corn has heightened sweetness, along with the slowest of all the corn types for the sugars to convert to starch after the corn is picked. This means you don't have to immediately cook the corn as soon as you harvest it to have great flavor.


Synergistic

Synergistic corn combines Sugar Enhanced Corn with Super Sugar Enhanced corn, all on one ear. 75% of the ear is Sugar Enhanced and the other 25% is Super Sugar Enhanced.


David's Garden Seeds® has seeds for most of the corn types discussed on this page. Here is the link to find our corn seeds. Happy Growing!

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