Sweet corn will forever be one of my summer time food staples. Perhaps that is because I grew up in the heart of corn country, Nebraska. Although I didn’t grow up on a farm, I remember running through friends’ corn fields, selecting the choicest ears for our dinner table. That corn was amazingly sweet and flavorful. From every corner of America the locals claim their corn superior to that of others.
My husband and I have agreed to disagree on this point. I have a hard time conceding that his upstate New York corn can be superior to my mid-western corn. I admit, now that I have lived in Colorado for seven years, that I really enjoy their fresh Olathe sweet corn and look forward to its debut at the farmers market. Recently I learned that as soon as corn is picked the sugars in each kernel begin to convert into less sweet starches. The whole transformation takes just 24 hours; which is probably why each of us claims our local sweet corn to be best, and assert it as superior to all others. It definitely explains why ‘sweet’ corn bought at the mega mart in April never compares to local mid-summer corn. Most corn grown for human consumption comes from Florida, which makes a Nebraska girl like me cringe. So, unless you live in the lower southern states, that means your April corn took days or weeks to get from its sterile over worked soil into the Styrofoam plastic tray on the shelf. My recommendation: wait until corn shows up at the farmer’s market or local produce stand and then enjoy it right away.
When corn is in season I put it in every salad and side dish I can. Here are a few ideas:
- When grilling, throw the husked corn directly on the flame and cook until all sides are lightly charred. Eat it as is or cut it off the cob to add to salads or salsas.
- Black Bean & Corn Salsa: combine canned black beans, grilled corn and fresh pico de gallo ingredients to make a hearty side dish for grilled Mahi Mahi or flank steak.
- Update the Cobb or chopped salad with grilled corn kernals, cherry tomato and diced avocado for a summer time twist.
- Sauté fresh corn kernels off the cob with diced zucchini and sugar snap peas and finish with fresh mint or cilantro for a fresh succotash.
- Roll fresh shucked corn on the cob in mayonnaise then crumbled queso fresco and grill over high heat to recreate a Mexican favorite.
- Cut the kernels off the cob and store in zip top bags in the freezer to enjoy later in soups or sautés.