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Sweet Corn: The Summer Staple

Here's advice on cooking and serving one of America's favorite summertime vegetable.

My uncle is a career farmer and his main crop for over 40 years has been corn.

Having full meals that consisted solely of Uncle Al's corn on the cob was a staple of our summer meal schedules while I was growing up, and I loved every serving.

I look forward to this time of year every summer, when July and August meals are anchored with platters of corn.  Our CSA boxes from Riverview Farms often contain a dozen plus ears of organic corn, starting in early July, often stretching to the end of August. 

My favorite method of cooking corn, because I feel it brings out the best flavor in the kernels, is boiling. However, there are several other popular ways of serving up this summer favorite:

Grilling:

  • Soak the corn (in husks) in water for 15 minutes.
  • Place the corn directly on the grill (set at medium high), turning every 5-10 minutes until the husks are dark brown (burnt looking).

Microwave:

  • Soak the corn (in husks) for 30 minutes.
  • Place corn (in husks) in microwave for 8 minutes (for 2 pieces). 
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then remove husks.

Steam:

  • Remove husks and silk from corn.
  • Steam in a steamer for 10-15 minutes.

Boil:

  • Remove husks and silk from corn.
  • Submerge corn in boiling water.
  • Boiil for 1-10 minutes (depending on how firm you like the kernels).
  • For sweeter corn, add some sugar to the water during boiling.
  • For extra crunchy corn, add milk to the water during boiling.

To serve:

  • Serve corn on a platter with pronged holders (if serving piping hot).
  • Have a room temperature stick of butter on the side so people can roll their corn over the butter.
  • Salt is a must!
  • Other unique ideas include: adding herbs to the butter, like basil, chives, or rosemary. Using garlic salt, onion salt or parmesean cheese in place of regular salt.

If you run into a bumper crop of corn and have more ears on your hands than you can eat, my suggestion is this: boil the corn and allow to completely cool.  Using a sharp knife on a cutting board, remove all the kernels. Place kernels into freezer bags and store for up to six months.

I give the "corn cob bones" to my dog, who chews on them for a while before she eventually buries them somewhere in the back yard. 

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