Types of Corn and How to Choose Corn


Types of Corn and How to Choose Corn

Types of Corn and How to Choose Corn

Fresh corn can be a scary ingredient to use in your recipes, especially if you’re unsure about how to choose fresh corn or which types of corn are best for your recipes.  We’re here to make the process a whole lot simpler, with easy-to-follow tips that make getting corn from the farm to your dinner table a snap!  Choosing the freshest, plumpest ears of sweet corn are important to making sweet corn recipes their absolute best, and in this article, you'll learn how easy it is to choose corn.  With your new expertise, they'll soon be calling you the Corn Colonel.

Types of Corn

There are a lot of different kinds of corn, too many to count!  The most common types of corn are flint, dent, sweet, and popcorn. 


  • Flint corn has much harder kernels, and usually comes in more than one color, commonly white, yellow, and/or red.  It’s also referred to as Indian corn, and is used most often for decorative purposes.
  • Dent corn gets its name from the little dent that forms in the kernels as they dry.  Dent corn can be either yellow or white.  Yellow dent corn is used primarily as livestock feed or processed to make cooking oils, while white dent corn is used in food products such as chips, cornmeal, or tortillas.
  • Sweet corn is a vibrant yellow color, and its kernels are firm and plump.  Sweet corn is what we find most commonly at the supermarket, and the type of corn used in your favorite sweet corn recipes like Fresh Corn Dip.
  • Unpopped popcorn has the smallest kernels and is used mostly for—you guessed it—popcorn!


Fresh Corn Dip Shrimp and Corn Packets


How to Choose Corn

Choosing the best corn on the cob can be intimidating if you’re not sure what to look for.  It’s important to choose the freshest husks you can find; corn loses its sweetness and becomes starchier the long it’s been off of the stalk.  Here are three easy steps to choosing the freshest, best corn on the cob.


  • Go for corn that has bright green, tightly wrapped husks.  If you see any brown holes in the leafy part, keep looking!  These little brown holes form when worms have gotten into the corn through the husks.  The best corn will feel plump when gently squeezed, and may even feel a bit damp.
  • Take a look at the silk tassels that protrude from the tip of the corn.  These tassels should be brown, sticky, and soft.  Bad corn will have dry, brittle, black silks.  Avoid those.
  • Peel back about three inches of the husk and take a tiny peek at the corn itself.  The tip of the corn should have all of its kernels intact, in other words, there shouldn’t be any gaps between the golden nuggets.

Once you've chosen your fresh corn, use it in sweet corn recipes like Easy Corn Soup or Easy Corn Fritters!


Easy Corn Soup   Easy Corn Fritters


Now that you know how to choose corn and the types of corn there are, be sure to check out some of the fresh sweet corn recipes in our free eCookbook, Spring Veggie Fever: 25 Mouthwatering Spring Vegetable Recipes
Spring Veggie Fever: 25 Mouthwatering Spring Vegetable Recipes

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