Zea mays L.

Just as squashes, peppers and cassava, corn was another gift of the Americas to the rest of the world. Very versatile, it is the corn on the cob people eat in Brazil at the beach, the popcorn sold at movie theaters worldwide, the flour used to make warm Broa (cornmeal cream puff), and creamy soups with cambuquira (squash buds, flowers and young leaves), Pamonha (Brazilian fresh corn tamales) and Curau (fresh corn custard). Corn is sold on or off the cob, with or without the husks, in dried or fresh form − which is creamy and slightly sweet. It is ubiquitous in Brazilian street and farm markets year-round, and decorates the stands with its very Brazilian green-and-yellow color. During the June Festivities, corn becomes the top star: “June, month of St. John, is the month of corn, festive, boisterous, unforgettable, from the humble popcorn to the artistic cake,” says Câmara Cascudo in História da alimentação no Brasil (History of Food in Brazil). In Brazil, production concentrates in the states of Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais, Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul.