August 12, 2004
Prairie Fare: All Ears about Corn
“Mom, look at my teeth!” my six-year-old daughter said to me as she was finishing her dinner the other day.
I took a quick glance and responded, “Your front teeth are starting to come in, aren’t they?”
She giggled and said, “No Mom, look closely.”
I looked again and discovered she had neatly capped most of her teeth with shiny, yellow corn kernels.
Yes, corn has many uses.
Corn is available in a variety of forms, including canned, fresh and frozen. It’s also used to make a wide variety of food ingredients such as corn starch, high fructose corn syrup and corn meal.
Corn on the cob is “in season” in late summer, so now is the time to enjoy sweet corn at its peak quality. Look for green husks and ears filled with plump, milky kernels. Avoid ears with insect or other pest damage.
Use fresh sweet corn within a couple days of purchase for best quality. Fresh sweet corn loses some sweetness and moisture with storage. To preserve quality and sweet flavor, refrigerate corn with the husks in place.
Try some different cooking methods and recipes. As a rule of thumb, a large ear of corn provides about one-half cup of corn kernels.
Cooking in boiling, unsalted water is the most common preparation method. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot, add ears and return to boiling. Boil three to five minutes. Don’t overcook or the kernels will be tough.
Corn on the cob also can be steamed. Heat about an inch of water in a large pot with a rack. Steam the cobs for about 10 minutes.
Roasting in the oven or on the grill is another option. To roast in an oven, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel back husks, but leave them attached. Remove the silk. Rub with melted butter, cover with foil and bake about 10 minutes. Grilling corn using this method takes 10 to 20 minutes depending on the temperature of your grill.
If there’s too much corn to eat, consider preserving it. For more information about freezing or canning sweet corn, contact your local Extension office or visit this Web site: www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/food.htm
No matter how you prepare it, corn is a versatile and tasty vegetable. Corn is nearly three-fourths water and provides carbohydrates, potassium, vitamin C and carotenoids (which the body converts to vitamin A).
Try this official 5-A-Day recipe and others from a Web site with nutrition information and recipes: www.5aday.org