Have you ever wondered why do the corn and tortilla chips have black speckles on them? Corn chips or tortillas are everyone’s favorite munching snack. They were popular in the earlier times and have managed to grow their presence in the market vastly. The prime ingredient of both the corn and tortilla chips is corn.
How is each kernel attached to the ear of corn?
- Each ear of corn is made up of multiple individual rows of kernels.
- Each kernel is attached to the cob through the tip cap present on the bottom of each kernel.
- The entire ear of the corn is packed in a case of several natural leafy substances.
How is a kernel produced?
- If we take a ripe kernel and strip off its tip cap then, we can see its hilum.
- The hilum is the part of the kernel that seals its base and draws in water and nutrition from it during the growing period.
- The hilum works as an umbilical cord for the kernel as it helps the kernel to grow.
- After the kernel is detached from the cob, the hilum stays as a kind of scar on the kernel.
- As the hilum starts to mature, it changes its color first to light green, then into light brown, and eventually turns into black color.
- The mature kernels are used to make both the corn and tortilla chips.
The black spots on the corn or tortilla chips
The black specs on the chips are nothing but the matured hilum that did no disappeared during the cooking process. These spots are visible in the final food produced using corn kernels.
Items prepared using corns
In addition to the corn and tortilla chips, corn is used to make several food items like corn tortillas, taco shells, cereals, nachos, and several other similar kinds of food items.
Dry mill products do not have that black speck of hilum as the manufacturers go to great extent to avoid the presence of the speck of hilum in the product. Few dry mill items made up of corns are cornmeal, grits, and cornflour.
Some interesting facts
- Tortilla comes from the Spanish word “torta,” which means a “round cake.”
- Corn chips are available both ways, i.e., baked or fried.
- Tortilla chips are mostly available in a triangle shape and are fried not baked.
- Nachos are one of the modern-day inventions.
- Corn is not an only seed that has a hilum in it. You can have a close look at the kidney beans. The eye on the bean signifies the hilum, from where it was attached to its pod for water and nutrition until its maturation.
- Doritos were launched by Frito-Lay, after witnessing the success of the corn and tortilla chips in the Californian market.
- Word Doritos comes from the Spanish word for “little golden things.”