Corn…It’s Sweet, It’s Delicious and It’s Finally Here

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Eating freshly harvested corn on the cob is a treasured rite of summer, and the time to enjoy it is right now. Sweet corn is quick and easy to prepare, loaded with nutrients such as fiber and B vitamins, fun to eat—and all you really need to enjoy it is a good set of teeth.

Buying the best sweet corn:  To select sweet corn, look for creamy-colored cobs of kernels wrapped in fresh, moist green leaves. If you can, pull the husk back and puncture a kernel with your fingernail—if the corn is fresh, it will almost explode with the sweet liquid. Perfectly ripe corn will have brown—but not dry—tassels.

 

To store sweet cornCorn varieties have come a long way from loosing sugar as soon as they are picked, however, for the best corn experience, rush fresh cobs from the stalk to the pot as quickly as you can! If you must store fresh corn, store the ears—in their husks—in a refrigerator crisper drawer for up to two days.

Corn tip:  Ears of corn with ample amounts of silk have more kernels on their cobs.

To simply boil sweet corn:  Bring a large pot of water to boiling. Add 1 tablespoon sugar. Remove the ears’ husks and silk, drop the ears into the water, cover and return to boiling. Boil for 3 minutes; then remove pot from heat and let corn stand in hot water until serving time.

To simply grill sweet corn:  Do not remove husks. Preheat grill to medium hot. Place whole ears directly on grill rack. Grill for 15 to 20 minutes, turning often. Let ears cool slightly; peel husks back and enjoy.

Corn is a low-cal way to add sweet flavor—and a little crunch—to your summer meals. Try these creative recipes for using your favorite summer veggie as a healthy whole grain staple.

Corn Salad with Feta and Walnuts

1 cup walnuts

4 cups fresh corn kernels (from 4 ears), raw or cooked

2 jalapenos, seeded and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons fresh limejuice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and black pepper

1/2 cup crumbled Feta (2 ounces)

Heat oven to 400° F. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool and roughly chop.

In a large bowl, combine the corn, jalapeños, limejuice, oil, walnuts, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle with the Feta before serving. Serves 6.

Fresh Corn and Tomato Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large onions, chopped

10 ears corn, husked and cut from the cob, or 10 cups frozen corn kernels (4 10-ounce packages)

10 cups chicken or vegetable stock

5 large tomatoes, chopped

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/2 cup sour cream

8 sprigs dill

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-low heat and cook onions without browning until tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the corn and cook for 2 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer until corn is tender and liquid has reduced slightly, 15 to 20 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper, stir, and remove from heat.

Serve in bowls with dollops of sour cream and dill sprigs. Serves 8.

Charred Corn and Tomato Salsa

3 medium tomatoes

1 ear corn, shucked

1/2 white onion, cut into wedges

1 jalapeño pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Kosher salt and black pepper

Tortilla chips, for serving

Heat broiler to high. Place the tomatoes, corn, onion, and jalapeño on a rimmed baking sheet and broil, turning occasionally, until charred, 8 to 10 minutes; let cool.

Cut the corn kernels off the cob and transfer to a medium bowl. Roughly chop the tomatoes, jalapeño, and onion and add to the bowl along with the cilantro, vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Mix to combine and serve with the tortilla chips. Yields 2 cups, serves 8.

Corn and Zucchini Tacos

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

2 cups fresh white or yellow corn kernels

1 cup chopped white onion

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

4 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped

3 medium zucchini, diced

1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 warm corn tortillas

1/4 cup tomatillo (green) salsa or your favorite red tomato salsa

8 teaspoons grated Monterey Jack cheese

Heat half of oil in a large skillet over high heat. Toast corn 5 minutes, stirring; season with salt. Remove corn; set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in skillet. Cook onion, stirring, until it caramelizes, 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes; cook 10 minutes. Add zucchini; cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes; season with salt. Add corn, beans, oregano and pepper. Cook 3 minutes.

Split filling among tortillas; top each with 1 1/2 teaspoons salsa and 1 teaspoon cheese.

Serves 4, each serving contains:  Calories 460 per 2 tacos, Fat 15.6 g, Carbohydrates 72 g, Fiber 12.2 g, Protein 13.8 g.

Spicy Grits with Chorizo and Corn

2 Spanish chorizo (cured sausage), sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 cup chopped sweet onion

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

Kosher salt and pepper

1/2 cup grits or polenta

2 cups corn kernels, fresh (from 4 ears) or thawed frozen

1 large bunch spinach, tough stems removed

Cook the chorizo over medium-high heat in a large saucepan until browned, about 3 minutes. Spoon off and discard any fat.

Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring until slightly soft, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and their liquid, 2 cups water, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil.

Stir in the grits. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until the grits are tender and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Add the corn and spinach and cook, stirring, just until the spinach wilts. Divide among individual bowls. Serves 4.

Jalapeno Cilantro Pickled Corn

Special EquipmentOne 1-qt. canning jar or two 1-pint jars with lids

Be sure to use all safe food preservation practices.

4 ears of corn (about 2½ pounds)

½ small yellow or red onion, thinly sliced

1 jalapeño, thinly sliced

4 large sprigs cilantro

1 cup distilled white vinegar

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons sugar

Cook corn in a large pot of boiling water (unsalted) until bright yellow and just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a colander set in an ice bath to cool. Drain; cut kernels from cobs. Place kernels in jar and add onion, jalapeño, and cilantro.

Bring vinegar, salt, sugar, and 2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar. Pour hot brine into jar and cover. Let cool, then chill.

Do Ahead: Corn can be made 2 months ahead. Keep chilled.