Sweet Corn

Fresh sweet corn is one of summer’s most delightful treats. Whether from the grocery store, farmer’s market or the family garden, fresh corn is best when cooked and eaten as soon as possible after picking. The moment corn is picked, the sugar in the kernels begins turning to starch. Depending on when the corn is planted, popular southern varieties such as silver queen or super sweet yield all summer long. Corn originated in the Americas and has been cultivated for over 8,000 years. Corn varieties grown for human consumption include both yellow and white ears as well as bicolor. In the south, we count the days until silver queen finally comes to our markets.

Peak Time:  June through August

Average Price:  $0.79 each

How to Select: Look for fresh bright green husks wrapped tightly around the corn with clean, dry silk or tassel. Avoid corn with a mushy tassel. Check the husk for small brown holes, which indicate the presence of insects. The kernels should be firm and plump. Avoid dry or yellowed husks and shriveled or undeveloped kernels. Store your corn at room temperature if you’re going to cook it within the next few hours. If you don’t plan on eating it for another day or so, refrigerate the corn in the crisper with the husks on, tightly wrapped in a plastic bag.  You can also freeze fresh corn in the husk.

Tips for Preparation: When corn is in season, you can eat it raw in salads. To boil corn, bring several quarts of water to a boil. One tablespoon of sugar may be added if the corn is more than a day old. Add ears to the water and cook until the water boils again. Take off the heat. The corn may also be steamed, sauteed, creamed, roasted or grilled.  Sweet corn goes well with other fresh garden vegetables.

Nutritional Highlights: Sweet corn is a variety of maize with a naturally high sugar content. Corn is low in sodium and contains only 80-90 kcalories per ear. Because of the high fiber content, it can aid with digestion. It also contains valuable B vitamins, which are important to your overall health. Corn also provides our bodies with essential minerals such as zinc, magnesium, copper, iron and manganese. Corn is a good source of the antioxidants carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote eye health.

For a recipe for summer fresh corn salad, click here.