Is it safe to eat Raw Corn?
I saw a recipe for a Summer Salad that said to sprinkle raw corn on top for a "crunch" effect - I've never eaten raw corn and was wondering if it was safe. I'm guessing hard to digest at the least....
Raw corn is delicious straight off the cob! That crunch from the corn your recipe mentions will come with a burst of sweetness that is superior to that of cooked corn. In my family, we call raw corn the "gateway vegetable" because it's usually the first one to be embraced by the kids, and it makes them curious about other ones.
Kids love corn and carrots because of their ludicrous sugar content. I wonder if you could get them to eat sugar beets.
Fresh corn is delicious (and safe as any raw produce) as long as it's not #2 field corn. #2 field corn tastes like cardboard and is grown for animal feed and chemical products such as HFCS.
As a kid we used to eat corn straight out of the freezer on hot days, and I have always wondered whether that was good or not.
When I first read the title of this question, I assumed you were talking about eating the raw ingredients to the corn-shaped candy that is popular in the US during Halloween!
I'm a little confused by the title, but I don't know much about corn varieties. I know candy corn as this sweet confection; is there a variety of corn that is grown that's commonly referred to as candy corn?
Unless you have an allergy to corn, raw corn is safe to eat; it might pass through you with vigor (especially if you don't chew it thoroughly before swallowing it), but it won't hurt you.
+1 .. and delicious too; even when I do cook corn, I cook it much less than most folks (except when roasting, then the attraction is the browned kernels).
But... isn't corn super hard? I mean, hard like a brick? Or is that just how regular grocery corn is?
@CamiloMartin, we're talking about sweet corn, which is eaten fresh. It's the only kind of corn I've ever seen in a grocery store. The other kind, which is used for cornmeal and animal feed, is usually left to dry on the stalk before harvesting, and is not sold in grocery stores. (Well, except as fall decorations or something.)
Corn is normally processed by soaking it in alkali-water, a process called Nixtamalization
The known benefits of this process are increased nutritional value and drastic reduction of mycotoxins if these are present.
I personally would discourage eating raw corn just to be safe. But there are currently no other known factors than the ones mentioned above.
To cite the article you linked: "Maize subjected to the nixtamalization process has several benefits over unprocessed grain for food preparation: it is more easily ground; its nutritional value is increased; flavor and aroma are improved; and mycotoxins are reduced." Nowhere does it say that it prevents something dangerous present in raw corn. Also, cooked corn is not nixtamalized, so if nixtamalization was a safety measure, cooked corn would be just as unsafe as raw.
Today's food is regulated. Farmers can't sell corn which has an unsafe amount of mycotoxins. And I hope that people who eat corn from their own garden don't eat it if it is diseased. See www.ipic.iastate.edu/publications/IPIC12.pdf, although this concerns pig food, but I hope that human food is similarly regulated. Note that we are talking in parts per billion here. And cooking (as opposed to nixtamalization) doesn't affect eventually present mycotoxins, so this is no argument for raw corn vs. cooked corn.
Well you got me there on mycotoxins I completely forgot about them being heat resistant xD
Still there's the fact that science hasn't been able to research and document everything yet. Let me explain. I'll give an example as to why soaking is important. Let's take white beans for instance. These contain phytic acid, apart from being the reason why you fart after eating beans, phytic acid absorbs zinc and iron in your digestive tract, often causing micronutrient deficits. Then there are lectins. Soaking extracts good amounts of phytic acid and heating takes care of the lectins.
What I'm trying to say is, people have been washing their hands with soap for thousands of years now (earliest recorded evidence 2800 BC) and we only know what germs are since 1675. Likewise people have been preparing corn for thousands of years in certain ways, and these traditions have been molded by natural selection and evolution.
Pellagra would be the disease Nixtamalization counters, by freeing dietary niacin in the corn. This is an issue if corn is a staple of your diet, but not an issue at all if it's an occasional treat.