Harvest of the Month: Corn

You know its late summer when you find yourself pulling husks and silk off of ears of corn you just picked up from a farmer’s market … and then find yourself waiting in mouth-watering anticipation for a classic summer feast.

An ancient food thought to have been domesticated from a grass grown in South America more than 7,000 years ago, corn is today one of the agricultural world’s most versatile products. While grown primarily for food for people and animals, corn is the key ingredient in thousands of products, from fuel and plastic to paint and cosmetics.

Even as a consumable product, corn comes in countless forms, including adult beverages, popcorn, cereal, and sweeteners.

As simple as corn is, choosing the perfect ear can seem like a complex process involving color, aroma, feel, silk assessment, husk moisture and more. Everyone has a theory about the best way to choose an ear, about whether or not the color of the corn matters, whether you should open the husk in the store to judge it, and more.

The website myrecipes.com offers a few simple tips: Choose bright green ears, snug husks and golden-brown silks that might seem a little damp (and certainly not overly dry). The site suggests it is okay to pull down some silk to peek at some kernels. In fact, the site follows the guidance of Jessica Battilana, who has written a whole cookbook dedicated to corn, and who advises buyers to poke a kernel or two. “… if she can get a sort of milky juice to spray out … she’s optimistic,” the site says.

To enjoy truly fresh corn, eat it soon after bringing it home. You’ll get the best flavor if you choose the freshest you can find and prepare them the same day. If you plan to wait more than a day to cook the corn, store unshucked ears in the refrigerator … but only for a day or two.

Tags: , ,