It is one of Europe’s purchases of the New World. It is used long before the potato and tomato, substituting ingredients that already existed for the preparation of “polenta” and especially the buckwheat, which was almost identified with and from which came the name “turkish wheat.”
The Mayas, Aztecs and the Incas ate corn that grew at every altitude and latitude requiring minimal care and developing in a relatively short time. The oldest archaeological finds date the cultivation of maize, New Mexico, about 3000 years before Christ. In Europe, it began to spread in the early sixteenth century. Prepared popular food from corn is dated back to early civilizations of pultae Etruscan-Latin. In Central America they used to prepare corn tortillas (used for tacos ), served with vegetable sauces that complement the nutritional value in itself lower than that of other cereals.
Food for humans and animals also comes in different qualities, adapted to various uses. The grains of corn, set in the ‘cob’, may be white or yellow, depending on the variety, but also reddish, wine red, purple, brown and even black. In Italy particular species are cultivated – varieties that belong to the Zea mays hardened, with hard grains, almost crystalline, and the variety Zea mays indented, with grains of yellow, white, and red.
Among the other varieties there is Zea mays saccharata, or sweet corn (sweet corn), whose stalck are harvested before maturity and boiled or roasted, this type of corn is now commercially available either frozen or canned. Zea mays belongs to evert the popcorn, a maize grain from small and round that put on the fire break out and become what in Italy is called “the little nun.” The corn’s ground is fine, medium and large and serves to prepare the polenta. Gluten is not of good quality and the corn flour used in bakery does not allow a perfect rise and makes the bread heavy and crumbly.