||The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (September 2010)
Field corn is maize of varieties that (in contrast with sweet corn) are not, in the United States, grown primarily for consumption as human food in the form of fresh kernels. While popcorn is not grown for human consumption in form of fresh kernals, it is not considered to be field corn. More than 98% of corn-growing land in the U.S. is in use for field-corn production.
Principal field corn varieties are:
Large-scale applications for field corn include:
- Livestock fodder, whether as whole cobs (for hogs only), whole or ground kernels, or (after chopping and ensilage) the entire above ground portion of the unripe plant
- Cereal products including corn flour, corn meal, hominy, grits, nixtamal, tortillas, corn bread, and cold breakfast cereals (such as corn flakes).
- Other processed human-food products including corn starch, corn oil, corn syrup, and high fructose corn syrup.
- Alcohol and corn whiskey
Field corn is not generally regarded, in industrialized societies, as desirable for human food without commercial pre-processing. An exception is "roasting ears", similar in appearance to corn on the cob, although it is necessarily roasted (rather than boiled or steamed as is usual with sweet corn), and is neither tender nor sweet even after the roasting.