Corn in flower

Corn in flower is a beauty to behold until it becomes blase; which it shouldn't. This is probably the largest source of food on planet Earth.

It's a view we just love; corn on the cob every day for three months is just around the corner. And hopefully Sufferin' Succotash too, if the lima beans will ripen in time; they have a very long growing season.

By Bernard Preston

It feeds a lot of farmyard animals and many humans too; oddly I prefer other varieties to sweet corn.

Midsummer means corn in flower; it's one of the highlights of our gardening programme.

Whilst corn, or maize as we call it, is in some disrepute as a food high in starch, fattening and to be avoided, we love it. More, in the context of the wholesome diet, I never put on weight even after months of enjoying corn on the cob every day.

It's refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta and rice, sugar, cakes and cookies that make us fat; highly refined maize meal, a staple in South Africa, is the reason why obesity reigns in our land. 

But, if you suspect you are insulin resistant, then it's a good idea to test your blood glucose one hour after a meal; is a simple inexpensive finger prick if you know someone with a glucometer. Over ten per cent of the West is now diabetic, so there must be someone around the corner.

Elsewhere in the world it's mostly refined wheat flour that is the cause of so much suffering; we see it everyday at the chiropractic coalface; painful hips, knees and feet from obesity. If you have a love affair with crackers and crisps, chocolate cake and baglels, then beware.

At the medic's office it's high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and diabetes.

Refined starches are what keep us quacks in business. Cut out the refined wheat and corn, and avoid sugar, and you'll be astonished how much healthier you'll feel. 

And even there, brown rice is a wonderful food, just as 100% wheat flour is; so we unashamedly enjoy our corn on the cob; and our low GI bread.

Today, the end of the second week in January we enjoyed our first four cobs; it's been a long time since I planted them in Spring, but so worth the wait.

And now two months later, we are half way through the crop; there's little sign of fall armyworm thanks to the hens; they too get three or four cobs a day.

There is no sign of Stealth today, our age old fiend, the vervet monkey, though; given a chance he'll cause havoc; yesterday he took half a dozen cobs.

Corn in flower

Corn in flower boggles the mind; each of those tassels ends in one pip; in the summer garden you can see a shower of pollen raining down on those anthers. It's all about fertilisation.

I've enjoyed watching several different species of birds, most commonly the weavers, feasting on the pollen this summer; they help with the pollination by spreading it far and wide.

Corn like most vegetables, the exception being the butternut family, for example, lose their flavour very quickly after being reaped.

Old corn is deadly dull, and nutritionally far less protective against disease, but straight from the summer garden to the pot, it's one of the highlights of every lunch in our green home; like bread we never tire of it.

Be assured, 100 percent wholewheat bread and fresh corn on the cob are not the cause of your obesity. Learn about the meaning of the term glycemic index, and apply it to your meals, and you can delete the word diet from your vocabulary.

Drop your cobs into a little boiling water, cover with a lid and turn the heat up and they'll be done in about five minutes; when we can smell them, we know they are cooked.

According to Harvard Health, the glycemic index of sweet corn on the cob is only 48; that's low; it's not fattening. Our white maize will be even lower.

Surprisingly adding a little butter lowers the glycemic index even further.

Once you see corn in flower, it's only a few weeks until you can start to enjoy excellent food as often as you like. It's particularly rich in a phytochemical called zeaxanthin that is found in very high concentration in the macula of the eye; together with the lutein in dark green leafy vegetables, they will prevent you from getting macular degeneration, the leading cause of adult onset blindness.

Enjoy the fruit of your corn in flower; it's very healthy; and delicious provided it's picked young and cooked within a few hours; preferably within fifteen minutes. 

One doesn't need a vegetable garden trellis for corn; the plants are very well anchored in the ground. However we like to grow climbing beans and limas near the corn for the nitrogen they fix in the soil.

Corn and beans! Growing lima beans means we can enjoy succotash every year. I like to toss in a jalapeno to spice it up a bit.

This is our quick succotash recipe.

  1. Bernard Preston
  2. Meaning of starch
  3. How to grow corn
  4. Corn in flower

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Hilton, KZN

South Africa


What's this site about?

Bernard Preston books

A family affair by Bernard Preston comes after the trilogy that starts with Frog in my Throat.

Consulting a chiropractor

Femoral nerve AP Xray from one of Bernard Preston's books.

Bernie's healthy choice foods

Cooking green beans Bernard Preston passion

Bernie's bread

Bread machine loaf by Bernard Preston

Bernie's garden

green beans and granadillas Bernard Preston

Bernie's bees

Bees workforce in Bernard Preston's garden

Bernie's chickens

Chickens for free range eggs.

Bernie's solar

Residential solar panels at Bernard Preston's home

Bernie's rainwater harvest

Harvesting rainwater to a reservoir in the garden means a steady supply that is unpolluted by environmental toxins.