Botanical Name :: Zea manys
Indian Name :: Makka
English Name :: Indian corn
Maize is the most important cereal in the world after wheat ana rice. It is, unique among cereals. The grains are borne in separate inflorescence, which are completely enclosed as modified leaf sheaths or husks, so that it is incapable of dispersing its sheets. The com is at its best when it is well filled but yet soft and tender. The tender maize is chiefly liked for its high sugar content. It has more sugar than any other com. So the maize is called sweet com.
Origin and Distribution of Maize
The name maize is derived from an Arawak-Carib word. ‘mahiz’. The early American civilization were based on this crop, which. made settled life possible in Mexico and Central America. Within a comparatively short time of the discovery of America, maize spread widely throughout the World and became an important source of carbohydrate food for the poorer countries.
Minerals and Vitamins
|Moisture – 14.9%||Calcium – 10 mg|
|Protein – 3.6%||Phosphorus – 348 mg|
|Fat – 1.5%||Iron – 2 mg|
|Fibre – 0.5%||Small amount of Vitamin E|
|Minerals – 2.7%||Small amount of Vitamin B Complex|
|Carbohydrates – 66.2%||Calorific Value – 342|
|* Values per 100 gm’s edible portion|
Natural Benefits and Curative Properties of Maize
The bread made from the maize flour is nutritious and palatable. It can be digested without difficulty. Taken at intervals, this bread helps to keep the colon clean. The dextrose produced from maize is used extensively in medicine.
Popcorn, made by heating the small grains, is a wholesome cereal food and is easily digested. It has everything in the original grains of corn content. It is not fattening and practically starch free as in the process of popping, its starch is converted into dextrine and intermediate carbohydrates, a digestive product, which is easily assimilable. It is laxative and provides bulk to faeces. It also promotes peristalsis i.e. wave like movement by its tendency to absorb moisture. It is therefore, valuable food in constipation.
Uses of Maize
Maize is prepared and consumed in various ways. It is usually ground and pounded. The meal may be boiled, baked or fried. The whole grain may be boiled or roasted and it may be fermented. Maize meal can be cooked with water to provide a thick mush or dough. It may be cooked with water to provide gruel, porridge or soup. Cornbread is made by mixing the meal with wheat flour. Immature cobs preferably sweet corn, are boiled and eaten as corn on the cob or the grain may be removed and eaten as a vegetable, or it may be canned. More mature cobs are roasted.