The word “corn” as such was an English term used to describe small particles. What we now call corn, the early American colonists called Indian corn. In this day and age ”Indian Corn” refers to the ornamental corn of Halloween and Thanksgiving traditions. Several New England tribes from the Mohegan in Connecticut to the Iroquois in the Great Lakes region had rituals and ceremonies of thanksgiving for the planting and harvesting of corn. One ceremony, the Green Corn ceremony of New England tribes, accompanies the fall harvest.
Corn or maize is an original plant from Meso America (Southern Mexico). By 8000 and 5000 B.C., it was already flourishing among different indigenous cultures such as the Aztecs, Mayans, Quechuas and the Indians in North America. When maize was first introduced into other farming systems than those used by traditional native-American peoples, it was very well received for its productivity.
Nevertheless, a malnutrition problem called pellagra (a condition caused by lack of B3-vitamin niacin and/or tryptophan) soon arose in the regions where corn was introduced as a staple food. It was eventually discovered that the indigenous Americans had learned to soak maize in alkali-water—made with ashes by North Americans and lime (calcium hydroxide) by Mesoamericans—which liberates the B3-vitamin niacin and tryptophan. This alkali process is known by its Aztec-derived name: nixtamalization. Integrating the consumption of corn with other foods like beans and other vegetables sources; help to get the required nutrients for a well balanced diet. Precisely for that reason, native Americans used to name corn, squash and beans “The Three Sisters”, sisters that should be planted together, sister who should no been apart and should be eaten together.
There are many different types of corn; the most outstanding include sweet corn, so named because of its high sugar content. This is the traditional favorite found in supermarkets and roadside stands everywhere. Corn is the number one field crop in America.