Last week I was flush with vine-picked tomatoes. This week I’m in corn cob heaven.
I slathered on sunscreen and went to a U-pick sweet corn farm in Wimauma to experience that rare moment that food people talk about when eating a raw ear of corn fresh from the stalk right in the field.
Fragrant, creamy and warm from the morning sun, it seemed like my first ear of sweet corn ever. I wondered why we don’t eat corn on the cob for breakfast.
So there I was standing in the middle of the verdant field of silky tassels swaying in the wind, birds circling overhead and filling the air with their chirping.
Then I got spooked.
There was something about walking through the rows and stalks that was a little creepy. The seclusion of being surrounded by corn nearly a foot taller than I am brought to mind the possibility of a threatening, Michael Myers-type character lurking a few feet away. Guess I’ve seen one too many horror movies.
But then I snapped back to reality.
My corn-picking expedition exceeded my expectations. Happily paying $10 for about 40 ears of corn that I myself picked, I headed home with my huge cache of corn, planning to share with Mom, my walking buddy and anyone else I could think of.
For the past week we’ve eaten an ear every night for dinner. It was so good I found myself counting the hours until I could justify eating another one, since I’m watching the carbs. I knew I could gorge myself on the stuff, but I feared I wouldn’t continue to enjoy it. I couldn’t risk that.
Even as a child I loved corn. I have fond memories of commandeering an ear and spinning it on a pat of butter to be eaten as I saw fit. Finger licking was a must back then, and chin-wiping was optional.
Corn kernels cut from the cob will keep in the refrigerator for a few days. Or you can lay them out on a baking sheet, freeze them until solid and scoop into freezer containers to be stored for several months.
When you’re ready to use them, just thaw the kernels in the refrigerator for use without cooking in salads, stews, chili, stir-fries and soups.
Also, if you change only one bad habit this summer do this: Don’t shuck fresh corn until you’re ready to cook it, which means never shuck in the store. The husk naturally protects the kernels and keeps the sugars from getting starchy and tasteless.
Choose a pot large enough to hold the amount of corn you want to cook, with room for water to cover the corn. Bring the cold water just to a boil on high heat. Some people like to add a little sugar to the boiling water; I like to add a sprig of rosemary.
You’ll never hear me complain about having too many tomatoes or too much corn. So when I spotted this colorful corn salad recipe that uses both, I made a note to be sure to give it a try. Enjoy!
Lynn Kessel is a freelance food columnist. For more of her recipes, visit southshore.tbo.com and enter the search words Lynn Kessel.
Colorful Corn Salad
4 ears corn, cut from the cob
1 cup premium tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup diced orange bell pepper
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 tomatillo, diced
1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, minced
Juice of one lemon or lime
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and enjoy.
Source: “The Complete Book of Raw Food, Volume 2” by Lisa Montgomery