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The Produce Report: August - Sweet Corn!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Are you ready to enjoy the fresh produce that August brings? We have you covered this month with all the basics about Sweet Corn!

- Vegetable with edible seeds, or kernels
- Different from field corn (typically used for animal feed)
- Picked when immature & prepared and eaten as a vegetable rather than a grain (like field corn)
- High in sugar content, carbs & dietary fiber
- Freshest in markets from May to September
- Available mostly with yellow, white or bi-color kernels

Parts of Corn:
Kernel - the edible part of the sweet corn plant
Ear - the collection of kernels on the cob
Husk - the tightly wrapped leaves covering the ear
Silk - the pistillate flower that emerges from the husk

Selecting The Perfect Ears
- Look for well-formed ears with light green, tight husks and clean, golden brown silks that are firm and heavy
- Feel the kernels through the husk - they should be plump and plentiful
- Avoid corn if the husks are dry

Properly Storing It 
- To maintain its freshness and sweetness, cook as soon as possible
- If you store it, keep it refrigerated - it can stay well for 2-3 days, but may begin to lose sweetness after a day or two 
- Sweet corn freezes well, especially if kernels are removed from the cobs
 
Preparing Corn
- Remove the husk and silk before cooking (unless you are roasting it with husks on, see below). To do this, peel away the outer leaves. Grasp the top of the leaves and silks and pull them down all the way to the bottom. Gather the leaves and silks in one hand and snap them off at the base of the ear. Discard. Pick away any remaining silks on the cob. 
- If you prefer to cut the kernels off the cob, slice through the kernel base along the central woody core using a knife. Place a bowl underneath to catch the loose kernels.

Ways to Cook Corn
Boil - Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add shucked ears of corn, cover and turn heat to medium. Cook for 4-6 minutes. Remove cobs and let cool before seasoning.

Steam - Add 2 inches of water to a large pot. Place a steamer basket in the pot (the water should not be touching the basket). Cover pot and place over high heat bringing the water to a boil. Place corn cobs in steamer basket and cover. Let corn steam for about 4 minutes. Carefully remove cobs and let cool before seasoning.

Grill - There are 3 main ways to grill corn:

1) In the husk - Fire up the grill. Place corn in the husk directly on top of the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until it is steamed through to the center, about 15 minutes. Let them cool before serving.
2) Wrapped in foil - Fire up the grill. Shuck corn and discard silk and husk. Wrap the corn in aluminum foil (you can season the corn before wrapping). Cook directly on grill, turning occasionally, until the corn is fully cooked, about 15 minutes. Let it cool before serving.
3) Naked - Fire up the grill. Shuck and clean corn. Cook corn directly on grill, turning occasionally, until it's charred and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Let them cool before serving.

Microwave - Place shucked ears of corn on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for 3-5 minutes. Let them cool before serving. 

Sweet Corn Pairings:

- Sweet Corn with Modena-Barrel Aged Balsamic Vinegar, Parmesan & Chile Flakes
- Sweet Corn with Basil Olive Oil, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Fresh Basil
- Sweet Corn with California Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, Fresh Cracked Pepper and Chives