Corn sprouts are easy to grow and can be harvested in just a few days. Sprouting corn kernels is a simple process that can be done at home with just a few basic supplies. With the right equipment and a little patience, you can grow corn sprouts and enjoy their many health benefits.
What is Sprouted Corn?
Sprouted corn refers to corn kernels that have been soaked in water for several hours until they begin to germinate or sprout. The sprouting process involves the activation of enzymes and the breakdown of stored nutrients in the dry cob kernel. This results in the development of a small shoot or sprout.
Corn sprouts are a popular ingredient in various cuisines and are known for their unique flavor and nutritional benefits. They are commonly used in salads, stir-fries, and soups, and can also be eaten raw as a snack.
Farmers markets are a great place to find sprouted corn, as they are often sold fresh and locally sourced. Corn microgreens are also a popular alternative to sprouted corn, as they are grown from corn shoots and have a similar flavor profile.
Types of Sprouting Corn Kernels
You can grow corn sprouts from different types of corn kernels. Each type of corn kernel has its unique characteristics and flavor.
This is the most popular type of corn we consume. Sweet corn kernels are smaller and softer than field corn kernels. They have a buttery and sweet flavor that is perfect for grilling, boiling, and roasting. Sweet corn sprouts have a delicate and sweet flavor that is great for adding to salads and stir-fries.
Field (Dent) Corn Seeds
Field corn kernels, also known as dent, are larger and harder than sweet corn kernels. They have a neutral taste and a starchy texture that is perfect for making cornmeal, grits, and tortillas. Field corn sprouts have a mild flavor and a crunchy texture that is great for salads and sandwiches.
Popcorn is specifically grown for popping. Popcorn kernels are small and hard. They have a tough outer shell that traps moisture inside the kernel. When heated, the moisture inside the kernel turns into steam, causing the kernel to explode and turn into fluffy popcorn. Popcorn sprouts have a crunchy texture and they are great for adding to soups and stews.
Benefits of Consuming Corn Sprouts
One of the main benefits of consuming corn sprouts is their high nutritional value. Corn is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, potassium, and protein. They also contain a significant amount of fiber, which is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system.
Furthermore, corn is an excellent source of antioxidants (181.4 ± 0.86 μmol of vitamin C equiv/g of grain) among all common grains. This is the highest total antioxidant activity among all common grains such as wheat, rice, and oats.
In addition to their nutritional value, corn sprouts are also incredibly versatile and they are used in a variety of recipes. You can add them to salads, sandwiches, and wraps, or use them as a topping for soups and stews.
Sprouting Corn Step-by-Step Instructions
Sprouting corn seeds is a simple process you can complete in a few easy steps. Here is a step-by-step guide to sprouting corn seeds:
Start by soaking 10 to 20 corn seeds in cool water for 8 to 12 hours. This initial soaking process kick-starts the sprouting process and prepares the seeds for germination.
Rinse and Drain
After soaking, thoroughly rinse the seeds and then drain as much water as possible. This step is crucial and you need to repeat this process twice a day to ensure the seeds remain moist but not waterlogged. Proper rinsing and draining are key components to growing high-quality corn sprouts.
The sprouting process typically takes 3 to 4 days from the initial soaking to the point where the corn sprouts are ready for harvest. However, you can continue to grow the sprouts for longer if desired. We recommend tasting the sprouts at each rinse to discover your preferred level of maturity.
Equipment to Use to Sprout Corn
Sprouting corn is a simple process that requires minimal equipment. Here are a few items to consider when sprouting corn:
- Planting Tray: A planting tray is essential for sprouting corn. It should be shallow and have drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. A tray with a lid is ideal as it helps to maintain the humidity level required for sprouting.
- Paper Towel: Use a paper towel to line the planting tray. It helps to retain moisture and prevent the corn seeds from sticking to the tray.
- Corn Seeds: Use high-quality corn seeds that are specifically meant for sprouting. I recommend organic and non-GMO corn seeds.
Incorporating Sprouted Corn into Your Diet
Sprouted corn kernels are an excellent addition to your diet. They are a good source of fiber, protein, and vitamins B and C. Incorporating sprouted corn into your favorite recipe is easy and can add a delicious crunch to your dishes.
Here are a few dishes where you can use corn sprouts:
- Salads and sandwiches - Use corn sprouts as a delicious topper for salads, like this tahini salad. Or add a layer to a favorite sandwich.
- Garnish - Use sprouted corn as a garnish to add a pop of color and texture to your meals.
- Stir-fry or soup - Incorporate corn sprouts in these dishes to add a new dimension of flavor.
- Smoothies - Mix them with your favorite fruits and vegetables to make a nutritious and delicious smoothie.
Storing Corn Sprouts
Corn sprouts are a great addition to any dish, but if not stored properly, they can easily develop mold, which is a common problem with sprouts. To avoid mold growth, it is important to store corn sprouts correctly.
The first step in storing corn sprouts is to make sure they are completely dry before storing them. Excess moisture can lead to mold growth, so it is important to remove as much water as possible. Use a clean towel or paper towel to pat the sprouts dry.
Next, store the corn sprouts in a breathable container. A plastic container with holes or a mesh bag are good options. Avoid using airtight containers, as they can trap moisture and promote mold growth.
Store the container of corn sprouts in the refrigerator at a temperature between 34°F and 38°F. This will help to slow down the sprouting process and prevent mold growth. It is important to consume the corn sprouts within a few days of purchase, as they have a relatively short shelf life.
You Might Also Like These Sprouts Recipes
- ½ cup dried corn kernels
- 3 cups cold water
- Place the corn kernels into the glass jar and cover with the water. Then, either loosely screw on the lid or place a cheesecloth over the top of the jar and secure it with a rubber band. Leave the corn kernels to soak for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
- Once the corn kernels are soaked, drain them and return them to the jar.
- Next, cover the jar. You can use either the cheesecloth method or a mesh sprouting lid. Then, place the jar on a sprouting stand or simply lay it on its side - which you choose is down to your personal preference.
- Rinse and drain the corn kernels once a day for 2-3 days, or until you are happy with the size of the sprouts.