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~ Making the Most of the Short & Sweet Corn Season ~

IMG_9991What a wonderful gift the Native Americans gave to the world.  Everything on the corn plant can be used:  the husks for tamales, the silks for tea, the kernels for food and the stalks for fodder.  Modern day horticulturists developed our two most popular varieties: white (Country Gentleman) and yellow (Golden Bantam).  White corn kernels are smaller and sweeter.  Yellow corn kernels are larger and fuller-flavored.  The more recently developed hybrid (Butter & Sugar Corn) produces ears speckled with both yellow and white kernels -- my personal favorite.  

Almost nothing beats a serving of fresh, steaming corn on the cob lacquered with sweet cream butter and sprinkled with salt.  Here in our beautiful and scenic "rolling hills of Pennsylvania", cornfields, miles of them, are a very common sight.  Sweet corn, hands down, is my family's favorite choice as a Summer vegetable.  Unfortunately, corn has a relatively short season, not being at its peak until late July or August and past its prime by Labor Day.  As soon as it's picked, the corn's sugar immediately begins to convert to starch, which lessens its natural sweetness.  Therefore, it is important to buy corn as soon after it is picked as possible.  Corn connoisseurs claim to be able to tell immediately when corn hasn't been cooked the same day it's been picked.

6a0120a8551282970b013486f877cc970cHow to choose & how to cook great sweet corn every time:

Choose ears that are bright green with snugly fitting husks and golden brown silk.  Gently strip/peel back a small portion of the outer husk.  The kernels should be plump and the rows should be tightly spaced.  Pierce down into a kernel with your thumbnail.  If the kernal squirts a wet, milky juice, the corn is young, tender and ready to cook and eat.

6a0120a8551282970b014e5ffe0d91970cTo cook sweet corn you will need:

6-8  freshly, same-day picked, carefully selected, cobs of corn, husks stripped away and silk carefully removed (discard or compost both)

2-4  tablespoons sugar (optional but highly recommended)

8  tablespoons salted butter 

freshly ground sea salt, to taste  

In an 8-quart stockpot, bring 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil over high heat.  Add the sugar.  Ease the corn cobs, one at a time, into the pot of boiling water.  After the last cob has been added and the water has returned to a rolling boil, cover and cook for 5 minutes -- not longer, not shorter, exactly 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain thoroughly.  Return corn to still warm stockpot and add the butter.  Cover and allow the butter to melt, about 2-3 minutes.  Give the pot a few gentle tosses to coat the corn in the butter.  Serve ASAP with s sprinkling of sea salt to taste.

Easy peasy, perfectly-cooked sweet corn each & every time:

IMG_9998To learn ~ How to: Shave Corn off the Cob with Zero Mess ~:

6a0120a8551282970b0240a4bbb3a4200b"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2021)


Annie -- I've never used corn water for soups, but, when I'm making Tex-Mex fare, I often use the water to cook my rice. Thanks for the ideas! ~ Mel.

Corn on the cob-my favorite. Growing up in New Englang Valley, our neighbors planted corn behind our property. We would pick it & "honor system" pay for the cobs. We were told, "if it falls on the ground, it's too old." Now, if I may add, save the corn water. Add onions, celery & some herbs & use as a basis for soups. Corn water gives a sweet flavor & I'm sure a few extra vitamins.
I actually freeze this broth as a basis for soups.

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