Sweet corn - Kānga

Corn or maize came from the American continent but is now grown throughout the world.

In grain form, maize is the staple diet for American Indians in Mexico, Peru and Southern North America. A sweet version of maize was developed, resulting in the name sweet corn, and it became a popular fresh vegetable in the 1960s. Several varieties are available; some with white kernels and others with a mix of yellow and white kernels. Varieties differ in sweetness, and recently super-sweet varieties have become available.

What to look for

Choose sweet corn with fresh green husks and soft yellow to light brown tassels - the darker the tassels, the riper the sweet corn. The kernels should be plump, pale and tightly arranged. The kernels darken as the sweet corn matures. Varieties vary in sweetness and colour – yellow and white and sometimes bi-coloured. There is no consistent relationship between colour and sweetness, but the darker the colour the greater presence of carotenoids.


Fresh available: December to April
New Zealand frozen available: all year


efrigerate in paper bags and use as soon as possible.

How to prepare

Remove husk and tassels, trim ends, cut as required. Boil: place the cob in boiling water and by the time the water has returned to boiling the corn will be cooked. Overcooking makes the corn kernels tough. Grill: wrap corn in aluminium foil blanch and refresh first. Barbecue: leave husk on. Microwave: leave husk on, and depending on the microwave's power, each cob takes 2-3 minutes on 100%. Cool before removing the husk and tassels. Kernels: To remove kernels from a raw or cooked cob, use a sharp knife to carefully cut off the kernels and use in salads and other savoury dishes.

Ways to eat

Eat cooked on the cob or stir fry kernels with a little butter or oil. Use kernels in corn fritters, or add to salads.

Cooking methods

Boil, steam, microwave, grill, stir fry (kernels).


Sweet corn is a good source of carbohydrate and contains a range of nutrients, especially B group vitamins. It is a good source of dietary fibre, folate and niacin; a source of riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, and contains a dietary significant amount of potassium. Phytonutrients include carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are of particular interest due to their association with eye health. Phenolic compounds, namely phenolic acids, are also present

Nutrition table

SWEET CORN Raw      
Nutrition Information        
Serving Size: 1 cup kernels = 150g  
  Average Quantity % Daily Intake per serve Average Quantity  
per serving per 100g  
Energy (kJ/Cal) 580/139 7% 386/92  
Protein (g) 5.4 11% 3.6  
Fat, total (g) 2.7 4% 1.8  
 - saturated (g) 0.67 3% 0.44  
Available carbohydrate (g) 19.9 6% 13.3  
 - sugars (g) 11.4 13% 7.6  
Dietary Fibre (g) 6.1   4 A good source of dietary fibre
Sodium (mg) 0 0% 0  
Folate (µg) 54 27% RDI* 36 A good source of folate
Niacin (mg) 3.3 33% RDI* 2 A good source of niacin
Riboflavin (mg) 0.2 11% RDI* 0.1 A source of riboflavin
Thiamin (mg) 0.2 18% RDI* 0.13 A source of thiamin
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.26 16% RDI* 0.2 A source of vitamin B6
Vitamin C (mg) 7 16% RDI* 4.0 A source of vitamin C
Magnesium (mg) 50 15% RDI* 33 A source of magnesium
Phosphorus (mg) 156 16% RDI* 104 A source of phosphorus
Potassium (mg) 450   300 Contains potassium
Zinc (mg) 1.4 12% RDI* 0.9 A source of zinc
Vitamin A Equiv. (µg) 7 1% RDI* 4  
Vitamin E (mg) 0.50 5% RDI* 0.33  
Calcium (mg) 3 0% RDI* 2.0  
Iron (mg) 1 8% RDI* 0.6  
Selenium (µg) 0.00 0.00% 0  
Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ  
Your daily Intakes may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs.  
 *Recommended Dietary Intake (Average Adult)  
Source: FOODfiles 2018        



Sweet corn is highly perishable. Display under refrigeration. Buy quantities that can be sold quickly. Do not remove the husk, except perhaps one or two for display, as this provides good protection from dirt and dehydration. Prepack in plastic bags. Use QR code on labels.

Store at 0ºC with a relative humidity of 90-100%. sweet corn is ethylene sensitive so store separately from ethylene producing fruit and vegetables.

Purchase sweet corn with the New Zealand GAP logo.