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Vegetable Photo: Flint Corns

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Flint Corn

Flint corn, (Zea mays indurata; also known in most countries as Indian corn or sometimes calico corn) is the same species as, but a different variant of maize (var. Linnaeus). Because each kernel has a hard outer layer to protect the soft endosperm, it is likened to being hard as flint; hence the name.

With less soft starch than dent corn (Zea mays indentata), it is too hard to bear concavities ("indentations"). This is one of the three types of corn cultivated by Native Americans, both in New England and across the northern tier, including by tribes such as the Pawnee on the Great Plains. Archeologists have found evidence of such corn cultivation by the Pawnee and others since at least 1250 AD. Cultivation of corn occurred hundreds of years earlier among the Mississippian culture people, whose civilization arose based on population density and trade because of surplus corn crops.

The coloration of flint corn is often different from white and yellow dent corns, many of which were bred later. Most flint corn is multi-colored. Like the Linnaeus variant of maize, any kernel may contain the yellow pigment zeaxanthin but at more varying concentrations.

(Source: WHFoods)

 

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