When summer rolls around, the first thing that comes to mind is corn (after the humidity and mosquito bites, that is). Corn on the cob, straight from the pot, a little butter, a little salt… It doesn’t get much better than that.
But the thing about corn is that it takes a while to grow: 60 to 100 days depending on the variety. Sweet corn? 80-95 days. And it can’t be planted until two weeks after the last spring frost. Do the math, and you’ll understand why corn doesn’t start hitting the farm stands in upstate New York until mid August. Can you find corn in the markets earlier? Sure, but it won’t be local. As you travel south into warmer climates, corn will be ready for harvest earlier and earlier due to an earlier last frost date.
Unfortunately there’s a side to corn that isn’t so sweet. While we think of corn as the ultimate American summer staple, it is used for a lot of things besides gnawing off the cob. In fact, only 12% of our corn crop is eaten by hand. The rest? 40% is turned into ethanol for a fuel source, 37% becomes animal feed, and 11% goes to make processed products such as the dreaded high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, flour and oil.
In addition, the vast majority of American corn is genetically modified to resist herbicides and produce its own insecticide. How to find corn that’s non-GMO? Organic farmers are not allowed to knowingly plant a GMO crop, so going organic is your best bet.
So what’s the bottom line? It’s mid-August! CORN IS HERE! Enjoy the next month with a cob of organic corn in your hand and mosquito bites on your toes. It’s the way summer should be.
How to Store:
Seriously, corn is best straight off the stalk. Corn looses its sweetness the longer it’s stored, so ideally you should eat it within 24 hours. We had a corn patch growing up, and my mom would set the pot of water to boil, go outside, pick the corn and shuck it, and come back inside to put it in the pot. Corn in the fridge was a serious no-no. But let’s get real: unless rooftop corn patches start popping up all over Manhattan, your corn is going to have to be refrigerated. So leave it in its husk and pop it into a bag in the fridge. You should be good for a few days. Just don’t tell my mother.
A David Tanis recipe for the New York Times; Photo Credit: Evan Sung for the NYT
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
Large pinch cayenne
3 cups corn kernels, from 4 ears
Salt and pepper
Whole milk plain yogurt, for garnish
1 tablespoon chopped chives, for garnish
A few cilantro sprigs, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish, optional
Put butter in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, mustard seeds and cayenne and sizzle for a minute or so.
Add corn kernels and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add 4 cups water and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Purée soup in a blender. Check seasoning and adjust salt.
To serve, ladle into small bowls. Garnish each with 2 tablespoons thick yogurt. Sprinkle with chives and cilantro sprigs. Add a squeeze of lime.
Featured Corn Recipes from Foodstand Posts!
Wondering how to make that inspiring post you saw on Foodstand? Here are your fellow Foodstand friends with their recipes!
Homemade by Newgent
“Simply grab a fork, chopsticks or spork and slowly savor every flavorful, fragrant bite of comforting summertime goodness in a bowl.”
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided
14 ounces extra-firm tofu, squeezed dry and cubed
1/3 cup unsweetened green tea
3 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/3-inch-thick coins
1 cup fresh organic yellow corn kernels (from 2 medium ears)
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
4 cups packed fresh baby spinach
1 recipe Coconut Curry Sauce
1/4 cup toasted coconut chips or roasted peanuts
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
4 ears of fresh corn
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 red pepper
1/2 hot chili pepper
1/2 red onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 large bunch of basil washed and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Salt to taste
Boil or grill the corn, cool and slice it off the cob. Set aside. Finely chop the tomatoes, onion, cucumber and red pepper. Deseed the chili and combine all veggies and corn in a large mixing bowl. Add the drained and rinsed black beans.
Combine all pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse until creamy, adjusting the oil, nutritional yeast and salt to taste. Pour over the corn, beans and veggies. Stir to cover each kernel and bean with pesto. Chill and serve.
More Corn around Foodstand!
Farm fresh from the stalk
Ingredients: Yellow corn
Barbers farm corn and chanterelles on heavily buttered Heidelberg bread
Posted by: MLapi
The best of summer ingredients in a salad that are tossed with a fig flavored balsamic vinegar #RedEats
Ingredients: Yellow corn, watermelon, blackberries, sunflower sprouts, goat cheese, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil
Posted by: Createlicious
Salad duo – Corn & Carrot Kosambari (South Indian) & Peanut Chaat (North Indian)
Location: West Elm Market
Posted by: Shuchi