MORADO PURPLE CORN (Morado cantena). A rare and ancient Peruvian corn bears deep purple ears with large kernals. It is grown for culinary reasons, but has also recently been studied for its health benefits since it apparently has unusually high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Morado grows on Peru's coasts as well as mountains, so you do not have to worry about the altitude. Supplier says it is a short stalk, growing only 5' high, but I've had customers report up to (new record reported by a customer) 14'. Perhaps a more hospitable climate makes it shoot up, or excessive nitrogen. Germination has been reported as fairly high 75-85% no matter the climate. PLEASE NOTE: I have never had a complaint about this corn until recently, when a customer noted that her stalks tassled but did not produce ears. Ears don't appear for a variety of reasons. Don't blame the seed. Harumphf. 85-95 days. This variety sells out very quickly when I have in stock. 50 seeds.
PERU'S FAMOUS PURPLE CORN DRINK: This delicious traditional Peruvian drink, Chica Morada, is also a powerhouse of nutrition. It uses morado maise, fruit juices and sweet spices. It is very refreshing! Slice fresh fruit (oranges, strawberries, pineapple) for garnish. Cover dried purple corn with water in a large pot. Add stick cinnamon and whole cloves and bring to boil, reducing heat and covering to simmer 45 minutes or until corn has softened. Strain. You can discard to solids. Dissolve dark brown sugar to taste in the hot liquid. Add fresh lemon juice and orange juice also to taste. Chill thoroughly and serve garnished with sliced fruit.
GROWING TIPS: Corn needs hot weather, plenty of time to ripen, and plenty of room to grow. Corn is a heavy feeder that is particularly responsive to organic compost and sweet soil (pH 6.0 to 6.8) and requires regular watering for good ear production and taste. Do not plant corn until soil temperature is 60 degrees. Provide a sunny location. Plant seeds 1" deep and 4" - 6" apart. I usually plant a little closer together and thin out the weakest so that I have them 12" apart, hilling up the strongest. You can grow in rows or you can grow in short blocks, rather than long rows, and still achieve pollination, or you can pollinate by hand. Please note that you must separate (by at least 100 feet) or stagger plantings (to make sure their maturity days are at least 7 days apart) different varieties and types of corn since they will cross pollinate. Corn needs regular watering - an inch a week, but never water the upper stalks after they tassle - it washes away the pollen! And regular feeding - especially nitrogen and phosphorous. In my area we are prone to sudden violent thunderstorms which can flatten my corn bed. So I have taken to providing a stake fence and securing the growing stalks with string as they grow. It makes quite a difference! Nothing more aggravating than watching your beautiful corn bed ready to produce to completely on its side! It also seems to frustrate the critters who nightly raid my garden! Harvest when the silks are dry and brown, usually 3 weeks after they appear. By the way, did you know your coffee grinder makes an excellent corn mill? Just be sure to clean out (or have a separate one) before using for either purpose.