Best Corn Recipes

Delicious recipes using this versatile vegetable - corn chowder, corn pancakes, salads and more.

| August/September 1993

When I dream about corn on the cob in mid-February, I think about sitting around a checkered, oil-cloth—draped picnic table with my family, chomping away on steamin' ears of corn. With butter dribbling down our chins, we often took 10 minutes to eat a row of corn typewriter-style from one end of the ear to the other. Personality traits manifested themselves in our individual cob-crunching styles: I ate every kernel in each row before moving on to the next; my brothers inhaled their corn at record-breaking speeds, racing to see whose cob pile would become the highest; and my sister munched on her corn haphazardly, leaving large gaps here and there.

A fight would inevitably break out over who'd get to use the last remaining plastic corn-holders, and someone always ended up getting stabbed in the struggle (usually the younger and weaker siblings). Other than that, however, corn consumption was quite pleasurable, as most of you can attest to. And let's face it, who can get all nostalgic when it comes to eggplant or brussels sprouts? Those are childhood memories best forgotten.

Selecting the Perfect Ear of Corn  

Corn is a high carbohydrate vegetable. The ear itself is actually a grain, while the plant is classified as a grass. One ear of corn is only 70 calories, is high in fiber and a source of vitamins C and A (in yellow corn only). There are over 200 varieties of sweet corn to choose from, ranging in color from yellow to white to a mixture of both.

Fresh corn on the cob needs to be kept cool after it's picked and eaten as soon as possible after harvesting for optimal flavor. Once the corn becomes warm after leaving the corn stalk, the sugar in the kernels begins to convert into starch. So shop early in the morning at a farmer's market or farm stand while the corn is still cool. If it's a long drive back to your home, bring along a cooler. If purchasing corn in the supermarket, make sure the corn is stored in a refrigerated bin. Also, call ahead to ask the produce manager when the corn will be delivered and if it's grown locally.

Husks should be tight and green (never yellow), with moist, white corn silk. Kernels should be plump and tightly packed with the smaller kernels at the tip of the cob. Pop one with your fingernail and a milky juice should squirt out (an older ear will ooze a thick paste). Also look for worms, which leave brownish patches near the top of the ear. Buy only frozen corn during the year; canned corn has lost most of its nutrients and supermarket corn on the cob has traveled long distances and simply isn't fresh.

Corn Storage and Preparation  

Keep corn in the husks and in the refrigerator if you plan to use it later the same day. Otherwise, husk and steam the corn immediately for one to two minutes and then bag the whole precooked corn, or cut the corn off the cob and refrigerate it for up to three days. At preparation time, cook the corn as usual, reducing the cooking time slightly.

4/11/2009 9:08:37 PM

How about specifying aluminum-free baking powder? My grandmother made johnnycake with baking soda and vinegar for the acid.

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