Corn 101: Part 1
(Part 1: This post will help you figure out how to choose the right corn. Part 2: I’ll teach you how to cook the perfect corn and give you a few great recipes if you want to get creative.)
It’s summer folks and that means farm fresh corn. If you’ve ever eaten corn from a local farm, you know you can eat it straight off the cob. Delicious, buttery, melt in your mouth, raw corn. However, there are a few things you need to know before biting into those kernels.
1. Don’t Shuck! – When you’re at the farmers market, it’s bad etiquette to shuck the corn to figure out if it’s good. It’s make a huge mess, and if you don’t use it right away, it will loose moisture and flavor. Plus you want that little husk to cook with.
2. Go Organic – GMO corn is everywhere, even on your local farms. So make sure to either get organic corn or ask your farm if their seeds are GMO free.
3. Sweet Corn Variety – Sweet corn is the corn you want to eat. Varieties include Peaches and Cream – a super sweet variety that is good raw or cooked and is yellow and white or Silver Queen – a milky white hybrid variety that is probably the most popular sweet corn out there for it’s mouth watering taste.
4. Pests – If organic, be prepared for little worms to be in your corn. Don’t let that scare ya, they are just trying to get a bite for dinner. Plus you can be sure that your corn wasn’t sprayed to high heaven. Set the critter aside and keep working.
5. Time to Eat – Corn on the cob starts converting sweet tasting sugars to starches immediately after it is picked. So ideally you want to buy it, cook it and consume it the same day it is picked or as close to then as possible. 3 days at the very most if you want tender sweet corn.
1. Ask your farmer when the corn was harvested. That will give you an idea of how fresh the corn is as of today. More than 2 days old, skip it.
2. Cop a feel. Hold that little sucker in your hand and feel if the ear is plumb and full of kernels. You don’t want a skinny, anemic feeling cob.
3. Look at the husk. You want the husk to be green and not brown.
4. Look at the silk. It should be brown on top and golden pale as it goes down into the ear, slightly sticky, and the more the merrier. More silk = more kernels.
5. Look at the bottom where it was broken off the stalk. If it’s brown, it’s most likely more than 2 days old.
Take a gamble. Buy a few ears of corn that you think look and feel good to you without shucking and see how you did when you get home. 9 times out of 10 you’ll have picked a good one. And as time goes on, you’ll get better and better at picking the perfect ear of corn.
Do you have any other tips for picking the perfect ear of corn?