While making stir-fry the other day, I got a little curious about what I was eating. As it turns out, both baby corn and baby carrots have very appropriate names! They are baby-versions of the full-grown vegetables of the same names. Read on for more information:
Baby corn is cereal grain taken from corn (maize) harvested early while the ears are very small and immature. Baby corn ears are hand-picked from the branches as soon as the corn silks emerge from the ear tips, or a few days after. Baby corn typically is eaten whole, cob included, in contrast to mature corn, whose cob is considered too tough for human consumption.
A "true" baby carrot is a carrot grown to the "baby stage", which is to say long before the root reaches its mature size. The test is that you can see a proper "shoulder" on each carrot. They are also sometimes harvested simply as the result of crop thinning, but are also grown to this size as a specialty crop."Manufactured" baby carrots, or cut and peel (what you see most often in the shops) are carrot-shaped slices of peeled carrots invented in the late 1980s by Mike Yurosek, a California farmer, as a way of making use of carrots which are too twisted or knobbly for sale as full-size carrots.