Native to the Americas, corn has become the most widely produced crop throughout the US. Most of us love it, and so do our pets. The golden kernels of sweet corn give us our favorite snacks—popcorn and tortilla chips—while dry corn makes an ideal nibble for our pet rodents.
Sweet corn is commonly boiled and added to salads, rice, and pasta dishes, but if you really want to impress your guests at a barbecue, then grilling corn on the cob is the way to go for optimal delight. Whichever way you cook sweet corn, this veggie will definitely bring sweet joy to your homemade dishes.
The anatomy of sweet corn is quite sophisticated. Long silky husk leaves sprout from the stem of the crop, and the leaves’ tips are joined together at the top. Tiny grains (kernels) of uniform size are tightly packed together to form an ear. The ear nestles between the husk leaves, with only a narrow fraction of it on display. One single ear of corn can be made up of four hundred kernels. The kernels are wrapped in corn silk, which are tassel-like threads that emerge from the bottom of the ear. Kernels come in three colors: white, golden yellow, or ruby red. Some ears can be bi-colored, containing both yellow and white kernels.
The kernels of fresh corn have a creamy, juicy texture that offers a strong, sweet taste. Extra- sweet kernels have a crispy, tough-skinned texture. When grilled, corn on the cob has a mouthwatering, buttery taste. Corn’s rich sweet taste means that it can be enjoyed on its own, without added seasoning or other flavors.
Fresh sweet corn is widely available year- round at most supermarkets and food stores in the U.S.
Sweet corn is a warm-season crop. Yellow corn is available throughout the year, while the season for red corn runs from early summer until fall. In the U.S, fresh corn is at its peak from May to September.
Select corn with fresh, green husk leaves. The husks of fresh corn are wrapped tightly around the ear. Check that the kernels are plump, brightly -colored, and neatly arranged. Ideally, try purchasing corn that is stored in the refrigerator for freshness and quality.
Avoid corn whose husks are loose and dried out. Don’t buy corn that is stored in direct sunlight or close to a heat source. Exposure to heat speeds up the corn’s conversion to starch.
When deciding to purchase organic or non-organic produce, consider the intensity of pesticide residue in a particular fruit or vegetable to reduce your exposure to pesticides. Pesticides are toxins used to kill insects, plants, and fungi during their growth and are potentially dangerous to people. Both the United States and international agencies agree that prolonged exposure to specific pesticides through food consumption is a potential health risk.
Every year the Environmental Working Group—an American environmental organization that analyzes farming and agricultural issues—publishes the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce to inform consumers of the most and least pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables.
The Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen is a list that highlights the twelve most pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables. Meanwhile, fruits and vegetables that contain mild pesticide contamination fall under the Clean Fifteen category. The data is obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.
Sweet corn currently features in the Clean Fifteen category. However, the The majority of sweet corn harvested in the U.S is genetically engineered to automatically resist herbicides and insecticides. The main problem with genetically modified sweet corn is that there haven’t been enough studies to prove that it is safe for human consumption. Look forConsider certified organic produce when shopping for corn.
The Environmental Working Group and Yoffie Life stress that consuming conventionally grown vegetables and fruits when the organic version is unavailable or financially impossible is far better than eating none at all.
If you plan to refrigerate corn, store it in an air-tight container or wrap it tightly in a plastic bag. Leave the husk intact to preserve the corn’s flavor. Once corn has been harvested, its sugars start turning to starch. It is therefore highly recommended to consume sweet corn as soon as possible.
Always blanch corn before freezing. Frozen corn on the cob will keep for a year. If you only want to keep the kernels, you still need to blanch the ear as a whole. Once it has cooled down, cut the kernels off the cob and store in a freezer bag. Frozen kernels should only be kept in the freezer for a maximum of three months.
Preparing your own corn on the cob instead of buying ready-made ones might seem daunting, but it’s actually a very simple process. Start by peeling the husk and the silk with your hands. Use a vegetable brush to scrape off any remaining stray strands of silk. Cut off the stalk and voilà! Your corn on the cob is now ready to cook.
To remove the kernels from the cob you will need a sharp knife and a cutting board. Hold the ear upright on the cutting board, and starting from the top, cut the kernels in one continuous slice. Try doing this standing against a wall or in a corner to avoid having kernels flying all over the place.
Sweet corn is boiled, grilled, roasted, or steamed. It is important not to add salt when boiling sweet corn as the kernels will harden and lose their flavor. Instead, you might want to add one tablespoon of sugar to keep the corn tender and enhance its sweetness.
B9 (Folate or Folic Acid)
Heart health, cognitive enhancement.
Needed to form red blood cells, DNA, and proteins in the body. Important for cell and tissue growth and repair, and during pregnancy, for preventing spina bifida in the fetus.
Antitoxin. Bone health.
Helps handle oxidative stress, and activates enzymes crucial to metabolizing carbohydrates, amino acids, and cholesterol. Needed for healthy cartilage and bone formation.
Fiber helps you feel full more quickly while eating a meal, and feel full for longer afterward. It also helps your digestion processes and helps you stay “regular.”
Immune system supporter.
Vitamin C can help protect against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling. It’s needed to form collagen, which helps maintain skin, teeth, gums, tendons, and ligaments. It helps heal wounds and fight cancerous cells. It is required to form neurotransmitters such as dopamine in the brain, and helps minimize damage from toxins.
Keeps skin and digestive system healthy.
Builds muscle, and maintains normal body growth, as well as heart and respiratory health.
If you’re concerned about your eye health, then the following information on sweet corn might put your mind to rest. Sweet corn contains a high dose of zeaxanthin, which is the chemical that gives kernels their yellow pigment. Studies have shown that regular consumption of vegetables that contain zeaxanthin reduces the risk of chronic eyes diseases, such as macular degeneration. Furthermore, sweet corn contains lutein and beta-carotene, which also contribute to healthier eyes.
Corn is also an excellent source of folate, also known as vitamin B9, which promotes cardiovascular health by reducing the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Folate is also an important vitamin for pregnant women in their first trimester as it helps with the early development of the baby’s brain.
1. The United States produces 40 percent of the world’s corn.
2. Corn is also cultivated to make starch and whiskey.
3. In 2010, 86 percent of the corn produced in the US was genetically modified.