14 Aug2010

Purplish Corn…

by Marketman


Perfectly yellow or perfectly cream white ears of corn are essentially the result of man’s intervention into the natural scheme of things. Over a millenia or more, people chose to select corn so that only perfectly uniform ears would result. So I am always intrigued when I see those dried ears of “Indian corn” around the Thanksgiving holidays, usually more of a decorative item than a buffet staple. At the market this morning, on the lookout for something unusual, I found these small ears of corn from Herbana Farms stall at Salcedo Market that had several shades of purple and lavender and yellow and white kernels. How cool is that?


The crew at the stall said they were sort of “rejects” or I suppose, genetic anomalies in a world that mostly wants uniformity and sameness. Of course I bought a few ears of corn, simply because they were different. They were smaller than the usual ears of corn, and they warned me that they were more sticky or starchy than sweet, but I thought they would look unusual at the lunch table today. I boiled some water and cooked them for 10 minutes (7-8 minutes or so for more sugary ears) and served them at lunch. They were HORRIFIC. Incredibly starchy without a trace of sweetness. Didn’t even really taste like corn. Hmmm, no wonder you don’t see them often. AWFUL. Took two bites and sent it back to the kitchen. If we had piggies nearby, they would have it for lunch. That’s what happens sometimes when you buy something based on its looks. :)



  1. bearhug0127 says:

    Haven’t tried this kind of corn but as you said they really look cook. Too bad they don’t taste as good as they look. They’d look good as decors though..

    Aug 14, 2010 | 3:45 pm


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  3. kitchen says:

    i have tried this corn, they are good for corn chips like nachos or as a local soup called “Suam”

    Aug 14, 2010 | 4:45 pm

  4. denise says:

    how about trying to make cornstarch from them?

    Aug 14, 2010 | 6:31 pm

  5. Footloose says:

    Rose from St. Olaf use to describe evident dental neglect as looking like Indian corn.

    And if you even consider making your own cornstarch from scratch, I shall have to start hyphenating your name with Martha Stewart.

    Aug 14, 2010 | 6:53 pm

  6. kit says:

    i’m not really sure if this is the kind of corn used in making binatog

    Aug 14, 2010 | 8:41 pm

  7. Mari says:

    Wouldn’t this be good for ginataang mais since it is more starchy than the normal ones? Altho, as you said it doesn’t taste like corn. Hmmm Kit, binatog sounds good.

    Aug 14, 2010 | 9:16 pm

  8. Connie C says:

    Did the corn lose its sugar because it has sat on the stall for a while? truly rejected perhaps? It may not have tasted the best it could be, if it had any saving grace, judging from the shriveled and dried look of the cob, some of the kernels, and husk.

    Aug 14, 2010 | 9:45 pm

  9. Connie C says:

    Off topic MM, but Footloose, you gave me a wave of nostalgia and made me think, where was I and what was I doing in the 80’s? Went to You Tube to watch the clips from the “Golden Girls”. Unless you are watching re-runs, you must have an elephant’s memory.

    Aug 14, 2010 | 10:12 pm

  10. Footloose says:

    Yep, elephant memory, turtle recall.

    Aug 14, 2010 | 10:35 pm

  11. zena says:

    MM, if it’s really starchy, might it not be good for corn soup with sili leaves?

    Aug 14, 2010 | 11:19 pm

  12. ingrid says:

    for binatog perhaps?

    Aug 14, 2010 | 11:29 pm

  13. sister says:

    Don’t they feed that to pigs?

    Aug 15, 2010 | 7:23 am

  14. kurzhaar says:

    There was probably nothing wrong with that corn, marketman. Not all corn is meant to be sweet corn. Good flint or dent corn is just as valuable for corn meal, masa, and so forth. I like sweet corn well enough, but also love corn cakes and fresh corn tortillas…you don’t use sweet corn for these.

    Aug 15, 2010 | 1:23 pm

  15. cora says:

    those corns must be useful in some cooking ways but they are great for my thanksgiving decorations.

    Aug 15, 2010 | 2:46 pm

  16. franz says:

    these corn can be used as popcorn or should be harvested young / less mature to keep it less starchy.

    planning on buying some blue, red and purple corn online soon enough.

    watch the documentary king corn. good stuff.

    Aug 15, 2010 | 8:53 pm

  17. izang says:

    i think this may be the “lagkitan” variety…we usually cook this as viand with shrimp, amplaya leaves and okra…best partnered with fried fish…

    Aug 15, 2010 | 11:06 pm

  18. kurzhaar says:

    If you do want a multicolored sweet corn, there are varieties available. Many moons ago I grew “Rainbow Inca” from Seeds of Change–quite sweet and with excellent true “corn” flavour when harvested young (although the kernels had a much tougher skin than the typical yellow or white sweet corn), considerably starchier and barely sweet when mature. We ate it young as sweet corn and when mature used it (un-nixtamalized) as an ingredient in a spectacular “hominy” with fresh soybeans, bacon, and scallions.

    Aug 16, 2010 | 3:07 am

  19. Footloose says:

    The binatog a few of the commenters mentioned is our one version of nixtamalized corn. The Tagalog word for it is kinulti. Dried husked corn, usually the glutenous variety, is soaked overnight and boiled slowly with wood ash until the skin separates from the grain. We serve them with fresh grated coconut.

    The largest kernels of corn I saw was in Chile, they were white and I thought they were serving me lima beans until I tasted it.

    Aug 16, 2010 | 4:27 am

  20. EbbaBlue says:

    Kurzhaar, you are right these variety of corn is used in masa and eventually tortilla. I myself planted these variety of corn for the Thanksgiving decorations, but when I harvested them young, and boiled them, they were sweet and not all starchy.

    Aug 16, 2010 | 6:23 am

  21. mojito drinker says:

    sounds like corn i’ve had in latin america. maybe it’s just a matter of what you’re used to eating…?

    Aug 16, 2010 | 3:36 pm

  22. jem says:

    looks like sick corns because of the purple color=)

    Aug 16, 2010 | 4:58 pm

  23. kurzhaar says:

    Actuallly the purple/blue colour is quite normal in many corn varieties. I have enjoyed Hopi blue corn quite often–I love “Piki” which is a Hopi speciality, a wafer-thin cornmeal “bread”. And blue corn tamales are delicious! The Hopi blue corn is not a sweet corn either, and it is a very deep blue, quite pretty.

    Aug 17, 2010 | 8:22 am

  24. Marketman says:

    kurzhaar, you are probably right that the corn was just not appreciated in its intended form, not boiled and eaten on the cob. And I do like the unusual colors of these types of cobs…

    Aug 17, 2010 | 8:51 am

  25. Clarissa says:

    We used to cheat whenever we have a batch of corn that really isn’t sweet. We add a bit of salt and sugar to the water we’re boiling the corn in. It gives a great flavor to the corn, though of course, nothing beats real sweetness.

    I would think that this would make some great suam :D which I just had this morning!

    Aug 17, 2010 | 3:18 pm

  26. kurzhaar says:

    Hi marketman, perhaps you can supply your market grower with seed corn to try out. I can recommend Sand Hill Preservation Center, I have bought seed (and poultry!) from them for over a decade and have always been happy with the quality. They carry many varieties of corn including several sweet corn OP varieties, though note their caveat about the “old fashioned” taste…not super-sweet like modern hybrids and also convert sugar to starch VERY fast, so as my uncle says, have your water boiling when you go into the garden to pick the corn!

    Aug 18, 2010 | 7:29 am

  27. Doddie Householder says:


    Sigh, that’s the only kind of corn we get here in Korea, pig corn. And Koreans adore it. One time, my street market vendor had sweet yellow corn. The next day I asked her why didn’t she sell it anymore, she replied “Koreans don’t like it. Too soft and the kernels stick to the teeth”. I could have wept in front of her.

    If I wanted good corn in Korea, I open a can of Jolly Green Giant corn kernels.

    Aug 19, 2010 | 2:33 pm

  28. Mike says:

    Being starchy maybe they weren’t meant to be eaten on the cob, but rather used as corn meal/flour.

    Aug 20, 2010 | 11:04 am


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