Maize (Zea mays L. ssp. mays, pronounced /ˈmeɪz/), known in many English-speaking countries as corn, is a grass domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The Aztecs and Mayans cultivated it in numerous varieties throughout central and southern Mexico, to cook or grind in a process called nixtamalization. Later the crop spread through much of the Americas.
Food features:Maize is the most widely grown crop in the Americas with 332 million metric tons grown annually in the United States alone. Transgenic maize comprised 85% of the maize planted in the United States in 2009.While some maize varieties grow up to 7 metres (23 ft) tall,most commercially grown maize has been bred for a standardized height of 2.5 metres (8.2 ft). Sweet corn is usually shorter than field-corn varieties.
Place of origin:Maize spread to the rest of the world due to its popularity and ability to grow in diverse climates.
Dietotherapy function:Maize meal is made into a thick porridge in many cultures: from the polenta of Italy, the angu of Brazil, the mămăligă of Romania, to mush in the U.S. or the food called sadza, nshima, ugali, and mealie pap in Africa. Maize meal is also used as a replacement for wheat flour, to make cornbread and other baked products. Masa (cornmeal treated with lime water) is the main ingredient for tortillas, atole and many other dishes of Mexican food.