Can You Eat Field Corn?

If you have been gardening for any length of time, you have likely heard discussions about which kind of corn to plant. There are many different varieties of corn ranging from super sweet to field corn. While some people swear that you cannot eat field corn, others adamantly claim that field corn better than sweet corn!


What is Field Corn?

If you have ever come across sprawling fields of tall green corn stalks, you have most likely seen a crop of field corn. Unlike sweet corn, field corn is typically grown on a large scale and you use it in a completely different way than sweet corn or popcorn.

Eating Field Corn

Whether you know it or not, you likely eat field corn every single day. Some of the things you eat made from field corn include:

  • Corn syrup
  • Cornmeal
  • Processed cereals
  • Grits
  • Whiskey

Additionally, you can also see field corn in things like corn oil and ethanol which is a common gasoline additive.

Many farmers also grow field corn as fodder for livestock, using the ears for feed and the leaves and stalk as silage.

Fresh Field Corn

You can also eat field corn just like you eat sweet corn, boiled or roasted and slathered with butter and salt. Although roasting ears are not sweet and are sometimes less tender, some people actually prefer the flavor of field corn.

Since the planting and care of field corn plants is the same process as growing sweet corn, you can plant both kinds and enjoy an extended harvest.

Harvesting Field Corn

If you are growing field corn to pick and eat right off the cob, there is a narrow window of harvest in which it tastes the best. If you pay close attention to your corn, you will see the silk start to turn brown. Two or three days after that, the field corn is perfect for eating.

If you leave the ears on the stalk too long, the corn will be tough and flavorless. However, you can still leave the ears on the stem to mature entirely and use it for corn flour or to feed your animals.