What is Maize and where it comes from?

What is Maize and where it comes from?

In our current world, where others try to make us fear our differences by sowing seeds of distrust, GYV strives to inspire people of all walks of life with stories from an area of the world that is, sadly, vilified.  While corruption and politics seem to overshadow the magnificence of Mesoamerica there are things in our everyday life to remind us of the beautiful gifts this region has produced.  Look at maíz (corn), it started off as a grass then was gyven a chance to grow and is now a global superstar.  Not only is maíz one of the main ingredients for the most delicious tortillas in the world but it can also be found in our hand creams and candles.

Maíz is one of the most iconic staple crops of Mesoamerica that has emigrated to the world as corn, and it all started with a type of grass called teosinte.

There are now over 50 different strains of maíz that come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. There are as many names as varieties, one of those names “Maiz” had its origin in the Caribbean island’s original inhabitants the Taino. Elote, as it is mainly known in Mexico is derived from Nahualt.  Other names used are Mazorca (of Arab origin) Choclo (quechua) Zea Mays (its scientific name and of Latin origin) jojoto used in Colombia and Venzuela, corn (Indo-european) and many more, please let us know in the comments what other names do you use for Maize.


Maíz has fed the region for at least 4000 years with some dating it as far back as 9,000 years!  All thanks to some skilled ancient farmers, they selectively bred these crops to produce tastier cereal and a lot more of it.  For more information visit https://www.pnas.org/content/99/9/6080.long

As floods and storms increased in severity, maíz was made more durable, helping the ancient cultures grow to their full strength. Here at GYV, we are grateful for the thousands of hands that still grow maíz so that we can transform it into tasty tortillas, tamales, pastelitos, elotes locos, pies, bread, masa; plus the hundreds of other uses that include sugar, ethanol, cooking oil, alcohol, whiskey, vodka, gin, plastic, and of course GYV products. 


While maíz may seem like a boring crop, to us it is a loving gift from Mesoamerica and a symbol of strength, resilience, and survival.




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