Difference between cow corn and sweet corn??

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by canfossi, Jun 23, 2007.

  1. canfossi

    canfossi Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    749
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario
    Can you please tell me the difference in looks between sweet corn and cow corn? Do the tassles look different, how else can I differentiate the two? Thanks Chris
     
  2. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

    Messages:
    30,746
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Texas Coastal Bend/S. Missouri
    Sweet corn has smaller kernels. The plants are usually shorter, too. Sweet corn is harvested by hand while the plants are still green and the corn is juicy.

    Cow corn (also known as field corn) has large hard kernels. The corn plants are allowed to dry in the field on the stalk and then harvested by combines that thresh the corn kernels off the cob.

    All that being said, we eat field corn that is picked early. :)
     

  3. Wisconsin Ann

    Wisconsin Ann Happy Scrounger

    Messages:
    13,635
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Location:
    South Central Wisconsin
    Could add that sweet corn is also picked by machinery in the big fields for canning and freezing.

    Sweet corn has also been selectively bred to have more sugar.

    telling the difference....If it's on a stand for sale, and it's green in the husk, it's sweet corn :) If it's in the field, drying, it's most likely field corn (feed).

    As Rose said, the kernels on sweet corn tend to be smaller, too.
     
  4. hintonlady

    hintonlady Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,641
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2007
    the above posts are absolutely correct. just missed one thing:

    field or cow corn is "Dent" corn. When the corn is dried you can see a dent near the germ. dent corn (based on variety) is naturally larger but also stays plumper when dried.

    sweet corn tends to be smaller and shrivels due to the sugar in it.

    size alone is not all that determines

    look for taste at milk stage and dents or wrinkles when dried
     
  5. dcross

    dcross Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,002
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2005
    Location:
    East central WI
    Watch for vehicles to stop alongside a field in the middle of the night, drop off two or three people and then circle the block for awhile...

    That's a sweet corn field!
     
  6. Shadow

    Shadow Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    762
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Field corn is good if picked at the right time, sweet corn is great if picked at the right time. Both are good sweet is just a real treat.
     
  7. Scrounger

    Scrounger Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,192
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    It also depends on the variety. Not all sweet corn is small and has small kernals/ears. Also, some field corn is also "sweet" corn! A lot of the "open pollenated" varieties are also sweet varieties.
     
  8. pixelphotograph

    pixelphotograph Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    950
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Location:
    The Woods of Georgia
    sweet corn is not harvested by hand in most places they use the same machinery to harvest sweet corn as cow corn
     
  9. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

    Messages:
    30,746
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Texas Coastal Bend/S. Missouri
    How can that be? Sweet corn is picked green and eaten off the cob. [​IMG]

    Dry corn goes through the combine and the grains are loaded in semi-truck trailers.[​IMG]
     
  10. Scrounger

    Scrounger Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,192
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Some farmers still pick some corn with a "picker" instead of a sheller (Combine). These pickers are designed to pick the whole ear. They snap the ear from the stalk, and roll the ear to remove the husk. Sweet corn, due to it being green, would be severely damaged in a corn picker designed for field corn. There are mechanical pickers for sweet corn, but they are different from the ones used for field corn.
     
  11. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

    Messages:
    30,746
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Texas Coastal Bend/S. Missouri
    Cool! I learned something. Thanks! :)
     
  12. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,213
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Location:
    Alabama
    Maybe I picked my sweet corn a bit too late but an ear of my Hickory King (dent) corn at milk state tasted better than the sweet corn and the ear was much better filled.
     
  13. stanb999

    stanb999 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,047
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2005
    Location:
    PA
    Their is dent and flint field corn. The flint dries flat and dent dries with the above mentioned dent.
     
  14. Trixie

    Trixie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,700
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    We have always planted field corn to eat and use for cornmeal.

    This year we planted some sweet corn - just a small garden, so we'll see.

    We were talking with a couple from Iowa at the RV park where we were a few months ago. We were remembering parking at an RV park in Iowa that was completely surrounded by a field of corn. I told them I was so tempted to sneak out there and get a few ears.

    "Oh, you don' t eat the field corn in Iowa - it isn't safe. It is sprayed with so much chemicals."
     
  15. tooltime

    tooltime Border Ruffian

    Messages:
    444
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2003
    Location:
    MN
    We always ate field corn in the milk stage. Right out of the field into the kettle, and perhaps a little less sweet than sweet corn, but still good.

    The field corn in Iowa and elsewhere in the corn belt is sprayed with many fewer chemicals now than it was 20 years ago.

    I wouldn't go take corn out of any field unless I knew when it had been sprayed, though.
     
  16. Trixie

    Trixie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,700
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    .

    I was really joking with her - but was so surprised at her answer.

    We have bought a lot of field corn to freeze from farmers over the years, but I don't know if these guys ever sprayed with anything. It has been a while, so maybe they do now.

    Corn growing is very different than it used to be, however. Now the stalks are smaller, closer together than when I was growing up. When we raise corn, we always have the stalks farther apart also.
     
  17. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,275
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    MN
    Sweet corn is much more delicate - a strong wind will knock it over.

    It's shorter.

    The tassles look more bushy.

    It has a deeper, different color to the plants.

    I can usually tell the difference from the road, but it is subtle.

    There are several canning companies around me, & also live in the heart of Minnesota's field corn belt. So both are grown by the thousands of acres here.

    Sweet corn will produce, at best, 2/3 of the corn per acre as good field corn (grain corn, cow corn, dent corn......)

    Sweet corn needs _many_ more trips over the field with sprays. It tends to be affected by some of the 'normal' weed sprays, but it is sprayed with insecticide several times during the year, as well as the seed at planting. Field corn rarely gets sprayed for insects or fungicides. Both use as much fertilizer as needed for their yield potential.

    The airplane sprayers are running all summer over the pea & sweet corn fields. Not so on regular corn, pretty much stop spraying when it gets 1.5 feet high.

    New Idea (now part of Agco) used to make a lot of sweet corn harvestors. Now I think only 2 companies make the big 6-row machines - I would like to guess at the names but I'll get them wrong. They work somewhat like a corn picker of the old days, but they do not strip any husk off, and try to handle the ears much more gently.

    There is a line of small 1-row sweet corn pickers as well, very expensive machine for what it is, but it handles the ears very gentle and is needed by the bigger local growers.

    --->Paul