In Season Now: Sweet Red Corn

Have you seen the red corn in our produce departments yet? Named for its “jewel-like” kernels, it’s called Ruby Jewel Sweet Red Corn. Restaurant chefs and backyard cooks alike choose it for its tender, sweet flavor and visual appeal. It’s great on the grill or roasted, either on the cob or as kernels shaved into salads, pastas or salads.

What makes it red?

Ruby Jewel Sweet Red Corn gets its marvelous color from traditionally bred, heirloom style seeds. These seeds have a purple/red plant pigment called anthocyanin, which is a flavonoid. Flavonoids are a group of healthy molecules that may increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood and may help maintain good brain function.

Keep reading to learn more about heirloom style seeds and for some recipes that showcase this unique corn.

Where did the heirloom style seeds come from?

The yellow corn we eat today is descended from the maize that fed the Maya and Aztecs, and before the dawn of modern agriculture had many colors. For example, a purple corn called Yak’s is a staple crop of the Acorna Pueblo, the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America. Oaxacan Green corn is used by the Zapotecs in Mexico to make green flour tamales. And the Hopi Blue corn was grown by several Native American groups.

Traditional plant breeding has reintroduced and blended the purple/red color trait with modern sweet corn so you can enjoy it in Ruby Jewel Sweet Red Corn. This involved selecting plants with the desirable color and flavor characteristics, then cross pollinating them to help bring out those desirable traits in successive generations of the plant.

How do you cook with it?

You can substitute Ruby Jewel Sweet Red Corn in any recipe or preparation that calls for sweet corn. Its lovely color makes it a great garnish to add a pop of color in any dish.

Here are a few recipes from Colorful Harvest, the produce company that developed this delicious corn:

Salads & Salsas

Side Dishes

Entrees & Pastas