Sweet corn is one of the most anticipated vegetables during the summer season!
Whether your local farm stand is offering whole bushels of sweet corn or your grocery store has just started setting out those amazingly tempting displays, you’ll find that sweet corn is on the menu at your place tonight!
Are you picky about the color of your corn? Whether you buy yellow, white, or bi-color corn, chances are you are getting the supersweet variety. That’s because supersweet comes in all three colors. The corn’s color (which is derived from carotene) does not have any correlation with its sugar content. Actually, people’s preferences for corn color are based largely on where they are from and what they ate as a child.
Choosing and Handling
Do you dare pull down the husks to eye your corn before purchasing it? The practice is frowned upon at some places and welcomed at others. When selecting sweet corn, look for the following signs of quality:
- Look for fresh green husks and ears that are filled to the tip. Do not select ears with husks that are dried, yellowed, or straw-colored, which are indications of age or damage.
- Look for kernels that are tender, full, and firm enough to break under the slightest pressure. Do not choose ears with kernels that have begun to shrivel or ‘dent’. Shiny dark-brown silk is a sign of well-filled kernels. Silk ends should be free from decay or worm injury.
- Refrigerate corn immediately after purchase to preserve its sugar content and flavor.
One medium ear of sweet yellow corn contains about 77 calories. It has just one gram of fat, 19 grams of total carbohydrates, two grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber. Corn also contains a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Storage for Best Flavor
To get the best flavor from sweet corn, it should be eaten as soon as possible after harvesting because the sugars start converting to starches as soon as the corn is picked. If you need to store the sweet corn, leave the corn in the husk and refrigerate it. If the corn has been husked, place it in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. Corn that has been blanched and cut off the cob can be frozen for six months to a year.
UW Extension’s Tips on Cooking
Boiling is an easy, time-honored method for cooking ears of corn.
- Fill a large pot half way with water. If desired, add sugar to the water to sweeten it more but never add salt! Salt will toughen the corn, so wait to salt it after you have cooked it. Bring the pot of water to a boil. Boil the shucked corn for 5-10 minutes or until desired tenderness. Fresh corn will cook faster than older corn.
The only important question is whether to grill the corn in the husk or shucked.
- Grill the corn by removing the silk from the ear but leaving husk attached to the ear. Soak ears in cold water for 20 minutes. Brush the kernels with olive oil and add some seasoning to it. Bundle the corn up in the husk and grill it for 15 to 20 minutes, turning frequently.
- If the corn is shucked, place each ear of corn on a piece of aluminum foil. Add flavorings and seasoning before sealing the foil. Grill the corn for about 15-20 minutes.
Baking corn in the oven is perfect for times when you are cooking many ears.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut off the corn silk hanging out of each ear. Place the unshucked corn directly on the oven rack or on a cookie sheet. Roast for 30 minutes or until the corn is soft. Cut off both ends of the cooked corn, and remove the cob from the husks and silk.
- Roast the corn by removing silk and husk. Place the shucked ears on heavy foil. Brush the corn with olive oil or melted butter and season; then seal the foil. Place the packets on a baking sheet and cook at 425°F for 20 minutes or until tender.
This method is good when you are cooking only 1 to 3 ears of corn.
- Microwave the corn by placing two ears of unshucked corn, into the microwave, setting it on high for 5 minutes per ear. After cooking, use heavy oven mitts or kitchen gloves to remove it from the microwave. Cut 1 inch off the large end of the cob with a sharp knife. Shake the cob out of the husk. If it does not release easily out of the husk by either shaking or pulling, then it should cook a little longer.
- If you have shucked corn, wrap each ear in a moist paper towel. Microwave the corn on high until tender, turning it halfway through cooking.
Sweet corn is a simple joy, and if you are someone who wants it as a compliment to your meals, remember that there are plenty of ways to eat it.
Eating it off the cob is wonderful, but don’t forget that it can be used in dips, salsas, salads, and in a wide variety of other dishes as well! Enjoy this easy dip recipe below.