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May 31, 2010 02:23 PM

Yearning for Yellow Corn

Yellow corn (ie all yellow kernels) has always seemed to have been available in Toronto up until the mid-nineties. In fact, I remember an article in the Toronto Star from the early 90's describing the 8 types of corn readily available in Toronto and how they tasted.

Sadly, now all I ever see is peaches and cream corn. Although tasty too, I am not sure why this is now the only corn available now. Maybe it's the same situation as when Ford thought that all people wanted was red cars. Turned out dealers were overstocked with red cars but that was one of the only cars customers could get instantly without having to wait a few months. So, even if they didn't like the colour that much, they bought the red car. Ford saw how many red cars were being sold and shipped more red cars to dealers and the cycle continued leading them to believe that was the colour people actually wanted. They didn't. Is it this what happened with peaches and cream corn such that that is all that is being planted now?

Where are all the varieties we used to have? Does anyone know where I can get corn other than peaches and cream, especially yellow corn?

I yearn for the yellow corn I used to eat all the time, especially when I was a child.

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  1. I'm guessing people equate sweet corn with good corn. And since the flavour of corn degrades so quickly after picking, peaches and cream can be older (and shipped further) and still taste sweet.

    Just a theory.

    1 Reply
    1. re: TorontoJo

      You're right, TJ: the older varieties of corn lose their sweetness within as little as 30 minutes; the newer varieties, like peaches & cream, have been bred to stay sweet for a much longer time. Unfortunately, they're often very sweet with little true corn flavour.

      And don't get me started on red vs. white grapefruits...

    2. I remember the early hybrids, like Golden Bantam. They could not be sold commercially because they had a shelf life of 25 minutes, and they became stodgy and overripe if left on the plant.
      A niche market exists in the U.S. for white corn (Silver Queen) but it never caught on here. But that is what P&C haters seek out, not yellow varieties.

      It is not too late to plant yellow varieties; the seed should be available from seed banks or vegetable heirloom clubs.

      1. This and other older, less popular varieties are around. Problem is, you go to the corn rather than the corn coming to you. Small farmers' markets just outside the GTA and beyond are usually the best places to find offbeat produce.Too many GTA farmers' markets rely on the Food Terminal--the antithesis of variety.

        1. There are three main types of sweet corn on the cob corn: regular sugar, sugar enhanced and super sweet. Within each of these groups you can get either yellow, white or bi-colour corn. The regular sugar corn has the shortest shelf life, and needs to have the pot of water boiling before you pick the cobs. The sugar enhanced and super sweet have sugar molecules that take longer to change into starches, therefore they are shipped more often.

          Within each of these three groups are many flavours and names of corn. Peaches and cream is referred to the bi-colour varieties, of which there are many. Many farmers who sell at farmers markets do grow more than one variety, but call the bi-colour P&C because that is what the customer wants. Often, I ask them which corn they prefer themselves. And yes, most often it is a yellow variety, not "peaches and cream".

          1. The best corn I ever had was last year out in prince edward county, it was "white corn" we got at this old lady's farm stand. i was shocked when i peeled back the husk to reveal pearl coloured kernels, and the taste, my god, super sweet, soft and buttery, you didn't even have to add anything.