Unlike baby carrots, baby corn is not a big, fat lie.
Have you ever wondered where the adorable baby corn comes from? The mystery is now officially solved. And guess what, it has a happy ending! But why so dramatic, could there be anything wrong with baby corn?
Well, some of you might have heard about the horrifying truth about baby carrots, that share the first name with baby corn and might imply a relationship between the two. The reason why we touch upon baby carrots is that actually, baby carrots are a big fat lie. They don’t grow in their cute, small & perfect shape as you can buy them packaged and ready to snack in your supermarket. In fact, baby carrots are 100% made of — well — normal carrots. Despite their adorable name, baby carrots are actually whole, imperfect, craggy-looking carrots that are sliced into smaller pieces, sculpted into rounded sticks, washed and packaged for our snacking convenience. Back in the 1980s, an American farmer invented baby carrots simply because his normal carrots were too ugly to sell. The success of his trial has contributed significantly to the wasteful behaviour of the carrot processing industry and shoppers distorted consumption preferences — in the US, approx. 70% of all carrots sold are baby carrots. Just think about this for a second.
But ok, let’s go back to baby corn, the miniature version of the beloved BBQ staple. Baby corn grows well on most types of corn and after being harvested, farmers let the stalks grow again to harvest the fully grown version later on. However, not a lot of farms grow baby corn here in Europe, because it’s normally a very labor-intensive work, as it includes hand harvesting and peeling. So unlike baby carrots, baby corn is not a lie and precisely what it sounds like: an infant corn, immature and petite, harvested before going into puberty. A true baby!
Baby corn is mildly sweet and when cooked, it adds a little crunch to any dish without overpowering it in flavour. Although tender in appearance, remember to pre-cook it before grilling or baking — otherwise it’s a bit too crunchy. The little guys are commonly used in Asian cuisine, such as stir-fries, noodle dishes or curries, so here in Europe, you often find baby corns mostly canned, not fresh. What a luxury item here in Europe! If you’re looking for cooking inspiration, then check out our other blog entries, e.g. baked baby corn lollipop and grilled veggie BBQ.