How Do I Choose the Best Blue Corn?

Kristeen Moore

Blue corn is a type of flour corn that is also considered to be a soft starch. Unlike yellow, or dent, corn, the shells of these kernels contain cells that have blue pigments, which give this particular version its unique color. The best type of blue corn depends on for what you are using it; typically, the kernels are ground into meals and flours. There are special steps to take in terms of storing this corn when you are cooking it at home in order to prevent spoiling. Although most fresh corn is preferred for cooking, some proponents believe that organic corn is far superior due to its taste and nutrient content.

Corn farmers often rely on pesticides to protect their fields.
Corn farmers often rely on pesticides to protect their fields.

Traditional yellow corn is often cooked and eaten as is, while blue versions, on the other hand, are preferred for making flour and meal. The processed flour is often used to make tortillas and chips, while the meal may be used to make muffins and pancakes. Blue corn generally contains more nutrients than regular versions, including higher levels of iron, lysine, and zinc. Some chefs believe that adding lime juice to processed blue corn can help to enhance the efficacy of lysine, which helps to build protein in the body. True blue corn can also have a mixture of bluish-white to white kernels within the stalks.

Most non-yellow corn is used for making flour, or sometimes popcorn.
Most non-yellow corn is used for making flour, or sometimes popcorn.

Before cooking this type of corn, ensure that the vegetable is at its freshest. The stalks should be firm, and the delicate kernels within should be not be bruised or excessively soft in texture. The corn should be placed in the refrigerator immediately so that it stays fresh until you are ready to cook it. If you do not plan on cooking the corn for a few days, consider placing the stalks in the freezer. Any flours and meals made out of the corn will also need to be refrigerated to retain freshness.

Organic blue corn is a version in which no pesticides are used during its harvesting. Western corn rootworms are especially problematic for blue corn farmers, which is one of the reasons why pesticides are used to protect the fields. Proponents believe that organic corn is superior in both taste and nutrition to blue corn that is harvested the traditional way. It is thought that organically-grown corn also contains more antioxidants, such as xanthenes, than regular types of corn. Keep in mind that organic produce is usually more expensive, so it is wise to weigh the benefits of this type of corn against the added costs.

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