When you’re surviving, be it in the wilderness or in the middle of civilization, necessity is going to drive all of your choices.
One of the most pressing survival necessities is hunger, and providing yourself and others you care about with enough food to keep going is going to occupy a lot of your time and energy.
You’ll be eating things that you wouldn’t normally eat, and the things that you do normally eat might not be prepared in the usual way, or even cooked!
Thinking about your food options in this way might make for new opportunities, even if they are unpleasant ones.
On the subject, how about corn? Is it possible to eat corn raw in order to survive?
Yes, raw corn is safe and still highly nutritious, making it a reasonably tasty and efficient option as a survival food.
Corn is one of the most ancient cultivated crops, now enjoyed virtually everywhere all around the world.
Its versatility and hardiness means that it is a staple in many regions and many countries, and you could do a lot worse when it comes to emergency food than finding some fresh but raw corn.
Keep reading and we will tell you everything you need to know about eating raw corn for survival.
Where Can Corn Be Found Growing?
Corn is native to Central America, but can now be found growing all around the world as a staple grain for many countries and cultures.
Corn, compared to many crops and other vegetables, is especially hardy and adaptable to many climates.
It is stereotypically thought to do best in hot, humid regions, but it has proven to establish itself and thrive even in cold or dry places, and even areas that are chronically wet with tons of precipitation.
The versatility and massive return on investment in the form of calories compared to competing crops means that corn isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
No matter where you are, you should be able to find corn crops, even if you cannot find wild or naturalized varieties.
Nutritional Info for Corn
Corn, for our purposes, is a nutritional powerhouse though it naturally gets a bad rap for its carbohydrate load as a grain in everyday diets.
Corn can provide you with sustained short and long-term energy, and also an excellent assortment of vitamins and minerals that can help your body keep working at peak efficiency, and repair damage to cells and muscles.
Assessing any given quantity of corn as food, you’ll find that it is mostly carbohydrates with a little bit of protein and just a little bit of fat to go along with it.
The vitamin profile of corn is quite impressive, even compared to many green vegetables, with a good complement of most of the B complex vitamins, in particular vitamin B5, vitamin B1, and folate along with a good shot of vitamin C, and just a little bit of vitamin A in the form of lutein zeaxanthin.
The mineral complement, while not quite as impressive, is still entirely respectable, with lots of magnesium and phosphorus and good amounts of potassium, manganese, iron, and zinc.
Most corn cultivars, and sweet corn types that are grown for human consumption in particular, tend to be surprisingly juicy with a water content that averages about 75% by weight. This can help you digest the corn as well as stay hydrated.
All in all, whether it is raw or cooked corn is a highly nutritious staple that you should never, ever turn down when you need food during an emergency.
How Does Raw Corn Taste?
Raw corn tastes surprisingly good! It is moist, typically sweet, and generally appealing though you might find it chewier than normal compared to the cooked stuff.
Mature sweet corn is succulent and tender enough to be eaten right off the cob without any cooking, and you definitely shouldn’t hesitate if you are desperate for food in a survival situation.
Caution: Dried Raw Corn can be Very Hard
Raw, fresh corn is still quite easy to eat compared to other raw grains and vegetables, but you must use extreme caution with dried corn.
Traditionally dried corn might as well be gravel it becomes so hard, and if you were in a desperate rush to scarf down some calories and chomped on a handful of dried corn kernels you could wind up with busted teeth.
Never assume that raw corn won’t be hard for that matter, and always take the time to protect your teeth by sampling it carefully and gently before you dig in.
Is it Safe to Eat Raw Corn Husks?
Generally safe, but hardly palatable. Although corn husks do factor into various regional cuisines, raw corn husks are essentially inedible.
They are tough, chewy, and highly fibrous along with being very lacking in nutrition. This means you’ll struggle to get through even a mouthful.
If you are smart, you will shuck your corn and enjoy the kernels raw. Discard the husks…
Can You Eat Raw Corn Silks?
You technically can, but you really shouldn’t. They aren’t nutritious and they sure as heck aren’t good to eat.
The long, silky strands of corn silk that surround the kernels inside the protective outer wrapper of the husk taste for all the world like eating yarn or hair.
You might be starving, but spend an extra minute or two peeling away these annoying little silks before you dig into those juicy, sweet kernels on the cob.
Can You Eat Raw Corn Cob?
No. The corn cob is very hard and dense compared to the kernels of corn, and it is also mostly cellulose.
It’s possible to soften it up by boiling, but trying to power through it raw is just going to be hard on your teeth and jaw, and you aren’t going to get any real nutrition in the bargain.
Once again, eat the kernels and discard the other stuff including the cob.
Can You Eat Raw Corn Stalks?
No. Corn stalks are too hard and inedible for people to eat, and they don’t contain much in the way of good nutrition at any rate. Like the cob, they are mostly cellulose.
Does Eating Raw Corn Have Any Health Risks?
Raw corn does not have any special health risks associated with eating it.
Unlike potatoes which contain solanine, and various beans which can contain dangerous amounts of lectins, corn has no such hazards you’ll need to watch out for.
One long-term concern if you are relying on corn as a survival food is that it is not nutritionally complete and does not have a truly balanced macronutrient profile.
Corn is mostly carbohydrates, which means it is mostly sugar and like sugar, it can lead to weight gain and other health problems when eaten excessively.
Also, despite its surprisingly balanced profile of vitamins and minerals, it does not have everything a body needs in the quantities that are required. Over time, a steady diet of corn will lead to malnutrition.
Also, the risk of foodborne illness from eating any raw produce or grain, including corn, cannot be ruled out.
Though corn is generally well protected by its husk, germs can still be present or wind up there from handling or pest contact.
Common foodborne illnesses associated with consuming raw corn include listeriosis and another is norovirus, both highly common causes of food poisoning in the United States and around the world.
Listeriosis is generally not serious unless you are very young, very old, or already suffering from compromised health, but it can cause a high fever, severe muscle aches, and major gastrointestinal distress.
The resulting complications might be enough to finish you off in the middle of a survival situation, especially concerning the loss of water and electrolytes from diarrhea.
Norovirus is another infamous cause of food poisoning and is in fact the most likely cause of food poisoning from eating raw corn or any other fruit, veggie, or grain.
Extraordinarily contagious, it causes nausea, vomiting, severe stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
If at all possible, you should cook your corn but if you can’t try to wash it before eating- and be very careful if you are handling it with dirty hands.
Chances are or whatever germ winds up in your body through the food you are eating got there from your hands first!
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.