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Jul 25, 2012 06:33 AM

Corn shoots?

I had an amazing dinner last Friday night at the 1906 restaurant at Longwood Gardens. Every course was a feast for the senses, but I was especially impressed with the presentation of the lettuces, baby vegetables, microgreens and edible garnishes that were grown right there at Longwood. One of those garnishes was something I'd never seen before. The server said they were "corn buds" but a Google search identified them as corn shoots -- tender, bright yellow sprouts bursting with corn flavor. I've never noticed them in the markets and I'm wondering if anyone knows where I can buy them. I plan to find out how to grow them, too; I wonder if it's too late in the season to start them. Is anyone familiar with how to cultivate them? I think I'll post this on the gardening board, too. Thanks!

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  1. Corn shoots = corn sprouts, I believe. Had some perhaps 10 years ago at a hydroponic microgreen factory in NJ and was very much taken by the experience. So sweet and tender.

    I have been wanting to grow some ever since simply because I could not find it being marketed anywhere. But, the corn seeds one can buy for planting have all been treated with fungicide and look pink, not suitable for growing sprouts.

    Only last week I was thinking about germinating corn using popcorn kernels.

    Your posting is a kick on the derriere for me. Time to find my old sprouting box to keep the kernels well-watered and in the dark. Time to see if the idea works. I will try and report back.

    9 Replies
    1. re: borntolovefood

      While hunting around on the subject, I did find these instructions for growing the shoots. But, as you say, they need to start with UNtreated seeds.

      1. re: CindyJ

        Doesn't organic corn qualify as untreated? Fair Food Farmstand has organic corn and organis popcorn

        1. re: Bigley9

          Yes... if it's organic it is untreated. I'm not a gardener. Are you saying that organic corn from the farm stand can be used as seed for corn sprouts?

          1. re: CindyJ

            We need to use mature corn for sprouting.

            In this country I believe only corn grown for animal feed is allowed to mature before harvest. The ears of corn we can buy for eating and cooking are all very young (more sugar, less starch?) whether we buy them from the grocery stores or farm markets.

        2. re: CindyJ

          There are multiple sources online and through mail order for untreated seeds. I recommend Fedco seeds in particular.

        3. re: borntolovefood

          Bought some loose popcorn kernels from Whole Food. Soaked them in tap water for about 24 hours. Laid the swollen kernels on a few layers of wet paper towel. Covered the kernels with wet paper towel to keep them moist and away from light. After another day baby roots started to emerge from most kernels.

          Drilled some small holes on the bottom of a plastic container for drainage. Removed wet paper towel from top of kernels. Placed sprouting kernels together with the bottom supporting paper towels in the plastic container. Covered the plastic container with an inverted lightproof cardboard box.

          Gently spray-watered the kernels twice a day and allowed to drain. Started to see tiny yellow shoots on the fourth day.. Was able to smell 'corn' at the same time.

          My estimate is in another 3-5 days, when most of the kernels disappear and the shoots are longer and thicker, the sweet and tender shoots will be ready for harvest.

              1. re: borntolovefood

                Bravo!!! I just received a 1-ounce packet of SugarPearl Hybrid Tablesweet corn in the mail. I'm going to find a container and try your sprouting method. I'll keep you posted.