Sweet corn is so popular that festivals are held around the state. Shown: the annual Sweet Corn Fiesta in suburban West Palm Beach, held in spring. The event includes a sweet-corn-eating contest. / Florida Food & Farm file photo

Head to your grocery story — one that, we hope, sells sweet corn grown locally — and buy some. This delectable grain (it is not, technically, a veggie) is versatile and inexpensive.

Farmers in South Florida’s Glades region alone grow 25,000 to 30,000 acres of sweet corn during the growing season, which ends around May. That’s about 10 million crates of corn — at an average of 30 pounds each.

Below are five fun facts about sweet corn.

Sweet-Corn Tacos are just one of the many dishes that you can make from versatile sweet corn. / Florida Food & Farm file photo

Five fun facts about sweet corn

1) Although more than 40 vegetable crops are commercially planted in the state, Florida ranks in the top three in production value of nine of them, including tomatoes (we rank No. 1), squash and sweet corn (we rank No. 2 for both crops) (University of Florida/IFAS).

2) Sweet corn is divided into six categories, based on its sugar content. They range from “Sugary” (with “normal” sugar content) to “Improved Supersweet” (“very high” sugar content) (source: Vegetable Production Handbook of Florida, 2017-18, edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_vph).

3) Sweet-corn leaves were used as chewing gum by Native Americans (sweetcornfest.com).

4) And how does sweet corn reproduce? “The tassel at the top of the stalk is the male part, and the silk of the ear is the female part. The tassel releases millions of grains of pollen, and some of them are caught by the silk” (sweetcornfest.com).

5) Sweet corn is a 100-percent whole grain and not a vegetable; it’s the seed of a type of grass, like wheat. And the various types (white, yellow or bi-colored) have become even sweeter since scientists began breeding varieties with more sugar. Baby corn is sweet corn that has been harvested early (berkeleywellness.com).

(Source: livestrong.com)
Serving size: 1 cup of cooked corn
Calories: 143
Carbohydrates: 31.3 grams
Dietary fiber: 3.6 g
Protein: 5 g
Fat: 2 g
Sweet corn also is rich in potassium, vitamin A, phosphorus and niacin.

For a variety of sweet-corn recipes, visit followfreshfromflorida.com/recipes/?c=all&i=sweet%20corn.