top of page
  • Cristina Sison

The New Orange

This bright orange maize was conventionally bred at Purdue University as part of the research under the HarvestPlus program to breed staple food crops high in provitamin A, iron, and zinc for developing countries. The Zambian government recently released three provitamin A “biofortifed” orange maize varieties. Preliminary studies have shown that this maize can improve vitamin A status of children in Zambia.

Vitamin A is fat soluble and is mostly found in meat products (e.g. preformed vitamin A in the liver), yellow and orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, squash, and dark leafy greens. It functions as an anti-oxidant, maintains cell health, and vision. Unlike water soluble vitamins such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A may accumulate in the body when consumed in excess. The amount of the provitamin A from plant sources (such as the biofortified orange maize) is regulated by the body so that it does not build up in body stores when it is consumed in high amounts over a prolonged period of time.

Though not available in the in the US at this time, it has potential to become as popular as the orange sweet potato, which is also high in provitamin A. The biofortified vitamin A orange maize is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and retains its bright orange color even after cooking. The dried kernels can be ground into course texture using a Burr mill (countertop coffee grinder available in stores), then boiled like grits. Even after boiling, the maize retained its bright color. It is probably best to sift off the embryo (hardy parts of the kernel) to make it less gritty but some might prefer the gritty texture. For finer and softer texture, sift the ground maize and discard the white products.

In this recipe, the dried kernels were ground to medium to course texture, boiled in water, with butter, cheese and milk then baked for 20 mins. It is important to note that the butter (fats and oils in general), and the milk enhance the absorption of vitamin A.

Orange Maize Casserole

Preheat overn to 350º.


2 c ground biofortified vitamin A orange maize 4 c water ½ c butter or Kerrigold garlic and herb butter 1/3 c milk

3 tables crushed garlic 1 c diced white sharp cheddar cheese

Shredded sharp cheddar cheese for topping

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring water to boil then add ground maize stirring constantly to avoid scorching at the bottom of the pan. Mix until soft paste is formed. Add the butter and mix until it is melted. Then add the milk and the cheese constantly mixing until cheese is melted. Season with salt and ground pepper to taste.

Pour mixture into casserole and pat to remove air. Cover the top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese and bake in pre heated oven for 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and cheese on top is melted.

Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

bottom of page