Sweet Corn - One of My Summer Favorites
TEXARKANA, Ark. –
I grew up riding with dad to the river bottoms in Oklahoma every summer and coming back with a pickup bed full of sweet corn. Then dad would park under the shade tree in the backyard and we would spend hours shucking corn. Sweet corn is one of my summer favorites. The native crop is available at local farmers markets, roadside stands, and supermarkets.
Sugary sweet corn fresh from the garden is a favorite vegetable of many people. Besides its popular use as corn-on-the-cob, sweet corn can be used in scalloped dishes, succotash, relishes, fritters, soups and chowders.
Sweet corn is a good source of many nutrients. A medium-sized ear of corn has about 83 calories and one gram of fat. It supplies carbohydrates, protein, and potassium, and is a good source of dietary fiber. Other nutrients include thiamin (vitamin B1), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), folate, dietary fiber, vitamin C, phosphorous, and manganese. It also contains beta-carotene, and is a useful source of protein.
The period of peak freshness for sweet corn is measured in minutes not hours or days. The best corn is the freshest corn. When buying corn, look for ears stored in refrigerated bins at local stores, held in the shade or on ice at farmers’ markets or roadside stands. When held in warm temperatures, the sugar in the corn changes to starch. Corn will taste less sweet.
Choose corn that is picked daily. Shop early in the day to get the freshest ears. The husks should be tightly folded and green. Using your thumb nail, poke an end kernel. It should squirt a milky white juice. Under-ripe corn will contain a watery liquid; overripe corn will have a tough skinned kernel with doughy interiors. The silk should be turning brown and dry on the end.
Corn is best if cooked and eaten within a few hours of picking. If you have to store corn, leave it in the husk until you are ready to cook it. Storing corn in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper of your refrigerator is best.
Corn is very versatile when it comes to cooking. Sweet corn can be prepared in or out of the husk using a variety of methods. Fresh corn from the garden is usually left on the cob, but cutting kernels off the cobs is an option.
To shuck corn, pull the husks down the ear and snap off the stem at the base. Under cold running water, rub the ear in a circular motion to remove the silk or use a stiff vegetable brush. To remove corn from the cob, you will need a sharp paring knife.
Place the shucked ear on a plate, large end down. Starting at the tip of the ear, run the knife straight down to the stem end leaving about one-fourth inch of the kernel on the cob. This prevents cutting off the tough cob fibers. Rotate the ear and cut until all the kernels have been removed. Now, using the back of the knife, gently scrape down the entire cob to remove the milk left behind.
If you prefer to preserve your corn, freezing is the best method to preserve the quality of sweet corn. Click HERE to learn how. It cans fairly well, but must be processed in a pressure canner to assure safety of the product. Click HERE to learn how. Corn can also be pickled into corn relish. Click HERE to learn how.
For more information or for food preservation recipes, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaDueHadley, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the web at uaex.edu/Miller.
This is one of the dishes mom would make with all the corn we shucked. It was our treat for the time we spent shucking the corn.
Mom’s Corn Fritters
1 1/4 cup self-rising cornmeal
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk or buttermilk
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, melted
1 1/2 cups fresh corn
Vegetable oil, for frying
In a large heavy pot or deep fryer, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches and heat oil to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal mix, flour, sugar, and salt. In a small bowl, combine buttermilk and eggs. Add milk mixture to cornmeal mixture, stirring well. Fold in butter and corn, mixing slightly to keep texture of corn.
Drop by tablespoons into hot oil. Cook 2 to 4 minutes, or until golden, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot.
By Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
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