National Maize Day is on November 26 this year, a day after Thanksgiving. Maize is rich in vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants, and this yellow gift of nature is worth so much more. Maize is so beneficial that it has a day carved out every year just to celebrate it. Corrine Lightweaver started the holiday, and we’ve found it beneficial to observe it. Did you know yellow isn’t the only Maize color? Its other rare colors are white, pink, red, blue, and black. Some are spotted, or striped, or multicolored.
History of Maize Day
In 2004, artist Corinne Lightweaver unintentionally launched the holiday as a small research experiment with her family to observe Thanksgiving Day from the standpoint of the indigenous people.
Maize (‘Zea mays’) can be traced back to 1500 B.C. in southern Mexico. Early Mexican farmers domesticated a wild grass called ‘teosinte’ by picking the best and biggest kernels, and ultimately, the famous crop we recognize today as maize was established. The domesticated maize circulated fast throughout Mexico because it is rich in nutrients, easy to grow, store, carry, prepare, and eat. It went down the coast to Peru and beyond, moving across the North until it eventually reached the Native Americans. Today, maize is global and is a major part of our diet. 297,624,053.95 imperial tons are produced yearly in the U.S. alone.
Maize has become a staple food in many parts of the world, produced more than rice or wheat. In addition to being eaten directly by humans, maize is used as feed for animals and made into cornstarch and corn syrup products. Sugar-rich varieties called sweet corn are grown for human consumption as kernels, while field varieties are typically used for animal feed and corn-based human food.
Maize grows as tall as 23 feet and as short as eight feet, and the beloved sweet corn is usually the shorter kind. Maize is rich in vitamin C; the antioxidant helps protect your cells from damage and ward off cancer and heart diseases. Yellow corn is rich in carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect against lens damage that causes cataracts, making it great for the eyes. The six types of maize or corn are sweet corn, dent corn, pod corn, flour corn, flint corn, and popcorn.
Maize Day timeline
Maize can be traced back to 1500 B.C in southern Mexico.
The first European illustration of corn is published in Venice.
Artist Corinne Lightweaver launches National Maize Day.
The total global production of maize is 1.146 billion tons.
Maize Day FAQs
What is corn?
Corn is another name for maize. The two terms refer to the same cereal grain.
How much maize should I eat in a day?
Two ears of maize or 1.5 cups of its kernel are recommended.
How is stovetop popcorn made?
Pour two tablespoons of oil into a medium or large pan. Heat the pan over medium or high heat. Put two popcorn kernels in the pan and cover it. When the test kernels pop, take off the lid, add all the popcorn kernels, then cover it and listen to them pop.
How to Observe Maize Day
Pop some popcorn
Making popcorn on National Maize day is a yummy way to celebrate. Everyone loves popcorn (especially children), and the best part is you can make it on a stovetop.
Cook maize meals
There are many tasty recipes to choose from: corn soup, corn burgers, corn fritters, corn tarts, corn, and jalapeno poppers. The list is endless, so get your pans out and give everyone an experience!
Drink maize beverages
Try out maize-based drinks. They vary from smoothies and teas to whiskey and beer, so there's something for everyone.
5 Jaw-Dropping Facts About Maize
Corn or coffee
Maize was a popular substitute for coffee in the 1800s.
Every row is equal
A cob has an even number on each row.
A major source of biofuel
Maize can produce ethanol and other biofuels.
Animals consume more
Animals eat more maize than humans do.
Whiskey is made with maize
Alcoholic beverages like bourbon whiskey are made from distilled and fermented maize.
Why Maize Day is Important
Maize is healthy and great for the eyes
Maize is packed with assorted vitamins and minerals, and it supports a gluten-free diet and fortifies bone density. As a decent source of lutein and zeaxanthin, maize also helps maintain your eye health.
It’s a good day to binge on yummy popcorn
From vegan and dairy-free to buttery and full-cream, National Maize Day is the perfect opportunity to enjoy popcorn. Making popcorn on National Maize Day is the first thing you must do.
Maize has played a significant role in history
Maize helped the Mesoamerican people to survive. This cultural significance of maize is seen in Mesoamerican art, myths, and rituals. People were so dependent on the maize crops that the Maya and Olmecs believed in a maize god, Hun Hunahpu.
Maize Day dates