When I received my organic seed packets this Spring, I immediately picked out the package of broom corn to plant as I knew that corn does well in very hot conditions. Since I was planting in late spring in Central FL, I figured that hardiness would be very important if the plants had any chance at all of survival through the very long, hot summer.
I posted a picture of a corn seedling two weeks ago, and I am happy to report that the one seedling in that picture is still growing strong! One other corn seedling survived transplanting into the garden, but unfortunately, only those two made it through the extreme heat long enough to take root.
My kids were getting excited about the corn that was growing as we were anticipating throwing the cobs into the fire pit in the backyard and roasting them. Corn on the cob roasted in a fire is absolutely delicious if you haven’t tried it before!
I started to do a little research on broom corn, however, and discovered that broom corn is not a variety of corn on the cob. As it turns out, broom corn has more decorative and industrial uses than for eating.
Broom Corn is Not a Corn At All
Even more surprising, broom corn is not a corn at all but a plant related to the sorghums used for grains and syrup. You certainly don’t pop it like popcorn.
The head of broom corn is very fibrous and has been used for hundreds of years to make, you guessed it, BROOMS! It takes about 60 heads to make one broom, so given that I have only two seedlings growing and not enough room in my garden to grow 58 more, it seems making a broom with the kids is out of the question!
The vibrant color variety of the seeds in the broom head make broom corn ideal for inclusion with wreaths and floral/autumnal arrangements.
My big question is, can you eat broom corn? I was thinking I could take the seeds and dry them and pop them into popcorn but perhaps this wouldn’t work as broom corn is not really even corn.
Broom corn is used in bird seed, so perhaps I can use it in my bird feeder.
If any of you have any additional ideas, please share!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist