PUR­PLE CORN

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The an­tiox­i­dant, an­tho­cyanin, which colours blue corn (and blue­ber­ries) is cred­ited with en­hanc­ing glu­cose me­tab­o­lism, in­hibit­ing DNA dam­age, re­duc­ing in­fla­ma­tion, metabolis­ing car­cino­gens and in­duc­ing can­cer apop­to­sis (pro­grammed cell death) for some can­cer types. Not sur­pris­ingly, it is thought that eat­ing blue corn can help re­duce the risk of di­a­betes, can­cer and car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.

One of the oldest va­ri­eties of corn (grown by the Pue­blo tribes in the south­west­ern United States be­fore the time of Colum­bus), blue corn is botan­i­cally the same as yel­low corn and is grown the same way.

Di­rect sow seeds from late spring to early au­tumn. As for reg­u­lar sweet corn, plant in blocks rather than rows as corn is wind pol­li­nated. Plant­ing in straight lines low­ers the chance of pol­li­na­tion.

‘Blue Hopi’ (Kahikatea Farm) is drought tol­er­ant and has long cobs with dense ker­nels that can be ground into flour for mak­ing blue tor­tillas and corn chips. Har­vest when the silks on the cobs dry out and turn brown.

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