105 days — An amazingly beautiful, translucent, multicolored corn. Although the photos that went viral on the internet were awesome, they did not do justice to actually seeing an ear in my own hand. The colors displayed are rare in the plant world, let alone all contained within one ear of corn.
When you peel back the husk on a dried ear while standing in the sun, you will be absolutely amazed. The kernels shimmer and shine like gemstones. And you never know what to expect. Every ear displays a seemingly unlimited variation and combination of colors.
Aside from its "presentation," 'Glass Gem' was spectacular for other reasons. The stalks were sturdy, healthy and erect reaching up to about ten feet in height. In spite of this, in the high winds that we typically receive in the early fall, it stood. And it is also very productive. Home garden yields of fifteen to twenty pounds of kernels from fifty plants is possible.
As a result of its complex parentage, 'Glass Gem' has a very diverse genetic makeup. Along with its color variations, it exhibits a spectrum of flint and popping corn characteristics. Although folks are primarily growing it for the unique ornamental value, it can be popped or it can be ground into cornmeal or flour.
In regards to popping, it cannot be compared with the modern hybrid varieties used in the popcorn brands that you buy at the grocery store. Those brands produce big, fluffy pieces that approximate the flavor and texture of a piece of packing material. The kernels of 'Glass Gem' on the other hand, are small, crispy, and packed with corn flavor. And the kernels that don't pop . . . don't throw them away! We have found that the majority of those are awesome tasting parched corn
'Glass Gem' is just one of the many rare maize varieties that the late Carl Barnes
worked to collect, breed and protect. According to Greg Schoen (Carl's successor in the work), 'Glass Gem' is the result of crossing Pawnee miniature corn varieties with an Osage red flour corn and another Osage variety called 'Greyhorse.' We are so thankful that they released it for all of us to enjoy!
Each 0.5 ounce is approximately 100 seeds.