What's the difference between corn and wheat?

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Maydup | 22:29 Tue 07th Feb 2012 | Food & Drink
6 Answers
Are cornfields in England really fields of wheat?

If not what is the difference and what do we use corn for?


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According to Chambers, in England corn usually means wheat although it is also a generic term for the seeds of cereal plants or the plants themselves.
The difference between corn and wheat is that wheat is a grass cereal which is used to make flour used to prepare bread, cookies, cakes and biscuits. Corn is a cereal grain which is used to produce maize flower. Oats are typically eaten by humans as oatmeal or rolled oats, while wheat is a raw product that is used to make flours for baking cakes and pastries.
Question Author
Thanks Howard.

Zacs, I think Maize is the what we call sweetcorn in UK. I'm thinking of the grassy crop which we call corn and maybe USA call it wheat maybe?
I use the term "cornfield" to cover all sorts of grain crops - wheat, rye, barley - whereas a wheatfield is wheat only.
To Americans, 'corn' means only maize which, while sweetcorn is maize, is mostly used as an ingredient in other foods. When you see 'corn' in the list of ingredients, that's maize.

In Britain , corn is wheat or barley or perhaps oats; it's a general term,and a field of corn could be any of those. When a farmer talks of a cornfield he means a field where any of those are grown, since the same field may not always have the same grain crop grown in it. Collins Dictionary says 'corn' was applied to the predominant crop in an area; well,once maybe, but there is no predominant crop in most fertile places in the UK. We grow wheat or barley in East Anglia, for example, and some oats are grown( mostly for local horses!)
Question Author
Thanks Fred, I understand now.

I'm in East Anglia too, surrounded by sugar beet at the moment! In the summer sweetcorn, barley, rapeseed and spuds. I'm happier that I can continue to call the barley corn even if it might be wheat or oats up close!

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