Ways to Prepare and Store Homegrown Corn

Join Anne Vassal as she shares ways to prepare and store homegrown corn, including tip son how to roast and recipes for Chilaquile Casserole and more!

| August/September 2000

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Anne Vassal provides information on ways to prepare and store homegrown corn.

Lending an ear to late summer corn.

After the Europeans began consuming large quantities of corn during the 18th century, many developed a niacin deficiency known as pellagra because corn is deficient in niacin and several amino acids. Native Americans never had this problem because they cooked corn with wood ash to release the niacin, or cooked corn with beans. Whereas 5,000 years ago an ear of corn was a puny two inches long, today's plump and juicy sweet corn is one of summer's finest pleasures. That joyous experience may only be diminished by knowing that more than 35% of all U.S. corn (both field corn and sweet corn) is genetically engineered and then further sprayed with pesticides. As with most fruits and vegetables, the best bet is to buy from local farmers or standowners after you have had an opportunity to quiz them about their growing practices. Better yet, buy organic seeds and grow your own corn. And when it's knee high by the fourth of July, you'll know that it's time to start melting lots of butter.

Corn and Sweet Soybean Ragout Recipe (vegan)

While trying to find ways to incorporate more soy into my diet, I discovered frozen sweet soybeans, which remind me of Lima beans, only sweeter. My husband likes them because they're higher in protein than other beans and they contain 50 milligrams of isoflavones per serving. I've been buying the "Hearty and Natural" brand at Whole Foods or at my local health food store. If you can't find them, use frozen Lima beans. This easy dish is great for lunch with some crusty bread.

1 (12-ounce) package frozen sweet soy beans (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups raw or cooked fresh corn (or defrosted frozen corn)
2 medium garden red or yellow tomatoes (We prefer our garden yellow tomatoes. )
Salt, cayenne pepper and freshly ground pepper
8-10 fresh basil leaves (or parsley if basil isn't available)

In a large, nonstick skillet, cook the soybeans according to the package directions until tender but not overcooked. (For the "Hearty and Natural" brand, simmer the beans in water for about 12 minutes.) Drain the beans, saving some of the water. Bring to a boil a small saucepan filled with water. Put the tomatoes in the pan and gently boil for about a minute or so to loosen the skin. Peel the tomatoes and chop into a half-inch dice. Heat the oil in the skillet, adding the onion and garlic. Saute until soft. Then add the corn and two tablespoons of bean water, adding more later if needed. Simmer until the corn is cooked, then add the beans and tomatoes. Cook just until the tomatoes have softened, adding salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Using a scissors, snip thin strips of basil and stir into the ragout just before serving.

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