What did the natives call corn?
The Indian name for corn is maize (ma-hiz). Indians helped early European settlers by teaching them how to grow corn to eat.
Native Americans, including the Lenape of the Delaware Valley, used corn for many types of food. The foods which we know were derived from corn in the Iroquois nations include dumplings, tamales, hominy, and a ceremonial "wedding cake" bread. Today, corn has become the most widely grown crop in the western hemisphere.
The crop we know as corn was domesticated from wild teosinte grass as far back as 8,000 years ago in Mesoamerica. The maize grown in the Americas (Zea mays) wasn't eaten fresh like sweet corn, but was allowed to dry on the stalk and then ground into flour for tortillas, corn breads and corn mush.
Their main crop was a kind of corn they had never seen before. Because it was native to North America and grew better in America than English grains, the Pilgrims called it “Indian corn.” The Wampanoag taught the English colonists how to plant and care for this crop.
Although the word "corn" comes from a general Old English word for a cereal seed (related to "kernal,") the word "maize" has Native American origins: it comes from the Spanish version of the indigenous Taino word for the plant, maiz.
Why is it called Indian corn? According to folklore, these colorful ears were named after the indigenous people of North America. They'd been cultivating it for years when they introduced it to the Europeans who arrived in the Western Hemisphere in the 15th century.
It was eaten raw from the stalk, roasted in the coals of a fire or baked into soups and breads (Niethammer, 135). Excess corn was dried on the stalk or picked and hung to dry in the sun. Dried corn was ground into cornmeal and added to soups or baked into tortillas and tamales (Frank, 18).
Indeed, the Cherokee name for corn—”selu”—is also the name of the First Woman in Cherokee creation stories. Cherokee villages were surrounded by vast cornfields while gardens were planted beside rivers and streams. In addition to corn, the Cherokee grew beans, squash, sunflowers, pumpkins, and other crops.
Agricultural fields consisted of small mounds of tilled earth, placed a meter or two apart sometimes in rows and other times randomly placed. Kernels of corn and beans were planted in the raised piles of soil to provide the support of the cornstalk for the bean vine to grow around.
Corn was eaten at almost every native american meal.
Corn, also known as Maize, was an important crop to the Native American Indian.
Where is corn originally from?
Humans first started selectively breeding corn's wild ancestor teosinte around 9,000 years ago in Mexico, but partially domesticated varieties of the crop did not reach the rest of Central and South America for another 1,500 and 2,000 years, respectively.
Scientists believe people living in central Mexico developed corn at least 7000 years ago. It was started from a wild grass called teosinte. Teosinte looked very different from our corn today. The kernels were small and were not placed close together like kernels on the husked ear of modern corn.
The Native Americans mixed water and a little salt with ground-up corn (cornmeal) to make a type of bread they called “suppone.” That is the origin of our “corn pone.” It was baked on the fire and was tasty, but also hard and crusty.
Originally, sometime before 700, a “corn” in Old English was a small hard particle or seed, like an appleseed. By the 800s it meant “the fruit of the cereals,” the OED says, so “corn” was simply grain in general: wheat, rye, barley, oats, and so on (hence the terms “barley-corn” and “pepper-corn”).
Indian Corn at The First Thanksgiving Dinner
Edward Winslow, one of the founders of Plymouth Colony, wrote that the spring before Thanksgiving, the settlers planted 20 acres of Indian corn (also known as flint corn). The abundant crop was served for the very first time that fall, for Thanksgiving.
Maize (/meɪz/ MAYZ; Zea mays subsp. mays, from Spanish: maíz after Taino: mahiz), also known as corn (North American and Australian English), is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples in southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago.
But what made us call it "corn"? The more technical name for the big green stalk, maize, came to English from the Spanish maiz, a barely altered version of the Taino (the language native to Hispaniola, the island of Haiti and the Dominican Republic) word for the plant, mahiz.
Maize was only found in the New World until Columbus introduced it into the Old World. Columbus brought maize to the Old World and significantly changed the lives of Europeans (Nunn & Qian, 2010).
In recent times, Indian corn has been bred more for coloration than for nutrition, and is primarily used as autumn and Thanksgiving decorations. Note that the word Indian in Indian corn is capitalized.
Today's politically correct name is Ornamental Corn, but somehow Indian corn seems better.
What is Indian corn?
In India, Maize is grown throughout the year. It is predominantly a Kharif crop with 85 percent of the area under cultivation during the season. Maize is the third most important cereal crop in India after rice and wheat. It accounts for around 10 percent of total food grain production in the country.
A fireless cooker was commonly used for meat, beans, tubers and corn. A hole a foot and a half deep (knee deep) was dug and in it a fire was kindled. Gradually larger pieces of wood were put in until the pit was filled with glowing embers. More than this, the earth was heated a considerable distance beyond the surface.
Some Indigenous Peoples of the Americas planted corn, beans and squash or pumpkins together in mounds, in an intercropping complex known to some as the Three Sisters.
The Ohio Indians planted corn, their largest crop, in May. They would first soak the kernels in water and then plant them in holes three or four feet apart. Ohio Indians also relied on beans, nuts, and wild fruits for their diet.
Yes, this is another treasure from Indigenous Americans. The oldest popped kernels were found in a bat cave in central New Mexico and also in Peru. Those in New Mexico are thought to be 5,600 years old.