This past weekend I spent the afternoon shopping in one of my favorite spots, the Kirkwood farmers market. One of the employees strongly suggested purchasing the white corn on the cob grown by a farmer in Illinois. I was a bit skeptical, maybe because of growing up in a farming community and thought I knew it all. I took his advice, bought it and it must be the best I’ve ever eaten in my life. It’s one of those foods that’s fun to eat while providing nutritional value. I’m sure you can convince your kids to eat it often this summer.
Corn is considered a grain or vegetable, depending on when it’s harvested. When it is fully mature and dry at harvest it is a grain. Fresh corn, which is harvested when it’s soft with kernels full of liquid is a starchy vegetable. Whole grain corn is as healthy as any cereal grain. Popcorn and sweet corn are two different varieties. Sweet corn is typically yellow, but also comes in many other colors, red, orange, purple, blue, white, and black. Popcorn tends to be higher in minerals, sweet corn higher in vitamins. One cup provides 5.4 grams of protein, 4.6 grams of fiber, vitamin C, thiamine and folate. It is higher in antioxidants than many other cereal grains and may boost eye health.
It tastes best when purchased in season, May through September. Don’t buy it pre-shucked. If the silk coming out of the husk looks good, that’s an indication of freshness. Make sure the husk is bright green and not dry. Also, look for weight, heaviness indicates it is full of juice. Store it in the husk in the refrigerator to preserve it until you’re ready to cook.
Corn can be cooked by several methods. If you’re in a hurry, utilize the microwave. Wet a paper towel and wrap or leave it in the husk. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until tender. On the stove, fill a large pot with water, add salt and bring to a strong boil. Using tongs, drop the ears without husks into the boiling water and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. If you spend your summer cooking on the grill, add it to the menu. Preheat the grill to high. Place the corn in its husk directly on the grates of the grill. Cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes. Turn occasionally, remove it from the grill and let it cool. The most common approach to seasoning is butter and salt, but why not experiment with different spices to enhance its sweetness. Start by trying this tasty Creamed Summer Corn recipe.