SPROUTING CORN SEEDS: SWEET CORN, FIELD CORN, POPCORN
By Tom Billings
Of course sweet corn seeds will sprout, if you can find good
quality seed that has not been treated with fungicide. One sprouting book suggests taking
sweet corn from the store, allowing it to dry (intact, on corn cob, with husks still in
place), and use that for sprouting. Of course you have to get the corn kernels off the
cob, but that is easily done by hand once the ears are dried.
Anyway, I tried doing just that, on two separate occasions.
After removing the corn kernels from the cobs, I allowed the seed to dry further for
storage. Then I tried sprouting the sweet corn seed. The results were very disappointing -
after about 30 hours in water, the dried sweet corn seeds had not hydrated (i.e., did not
absorb water) at all! If they don't hydrate they certainly can't sprout. (I terminated
both trials at that point - end of soaking period).
So my first trials in sprouting sweet corn were not
successful. Later, I obtained some organic, untreated sweet corn seed from Seeds of Change
('Rainbow Inca' variety). These were of very high quality and sprouted nicely - soak for
24 hours, then sprout for 2.5-3 days. The result is a sprout that tastes like raw sweet
corn, but is not as sweet. There were no problems with mold or bacteria. Success at last
in sprouting sweet corn!
However, the overall results of this experiment were not 100%
positive. Because the seed costs $9.00 per pound (plus $4 shipping), sprouting sweet corn
seed is not economical. Frankly, I would advise eating raw sweet corn instead - more
flavor, less trouble, and cheaper than trying to sprout expensive seed. If you decide to
try sprouting sweet corn seed, make certain that the seed you use is not treated with
fungicides or other toxic chemicals. Most sweet corn seed is sold for the
garden/agriculture market, and has poisons applied to control damping-off and other
diseases that kill seedlings.
Also, if/when you eat raw sweet corn, I recommend eating the
raw corn silk also. Corn silk is delicious, a diuretic, and often used by Western
herbalists in anti-diabetes programs. In a sense, the corn silk may serve as an antidote
to the excessively high sugar level found in today's modern hybrid corn varieties.
I should also mention that field corn and popcorn both sprout
OK. However, both are uneven and irregular sprouters, blue mold is a serious problem with
both, and the outer shell of the popcorn kernel is very hard even when sprouted. Field
corn sprouts are soft if grown long enough, but their flavor is starchy and can be very
bland. Again, the easiest way to eat raw corn is to just eat raw sweet corn. If you insist
on sprouting field corn or popcorn, inspect the seeds and remove broken/moldy kernels
before soaking (quality of seed can be highly variable), soak for a minimum of 12 hours,
and sprout for 2.0 or more days.
Good luck in your sprouting experiments!