This time of year, there is nothing more delicious than a steamed ear of sweet corn that was recently picked.  Once you have a fresh ear of corn you will never be able to eat one not recently picked whose sugar has turned to starch.

In pre-historic times indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica domesticated corn, also known as maize.  Starting around 2500 BC the crop spread through the Americas. The first corn plants were small.  The ears were only about 1” long and came one ear per plant.  Maize breeding and genetic modification has resulted in the corn plants we know today.

Health & Nutrition:

Did you know that corn is not a vegetable?  It is a whole grain.

Corn and popcorn are good sources of fiber with 4.6 grams per cup. A medium ear contains 85 calories and 1 gram of fat.  It has 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.

Lots of corn has been genetically modified to be herbicide-tolerant and insect-resistant. There is concern among researchers that genetically modified foods might have the potential to increase risk of adverse reactions, including food allergies although there is currently no proof of any danger.  To hedge your bet, it is recommended that you buy certified organic corn.

Buying and storing corn:

There is no taste difference between yellow and white corn.

Ears of corn that have been picked and are exposed to heat have an increased risk for microbial contamination.  Try to buy corn that is either refrigerated or at least kept cool in the shade.

Try not to pull the husk back to check the condition of each ear of corn.  That will dry out the corn.  If you feel the ear through the husk it should be filled out with plump rows of kernels.  If you feel gaps or holes, do not buy it.

Try not to buy corn at large supermarkets.  Corn sold in supermarkets, unless specified as being local, has been in transit for days and will have lost its tastiness.

Never buy corn that has the husk removed.  The husk keeps the corn moist.

If you can’t eat corn within two days of buying it, store it in the refrigerator.

Cooking corn:

Cook and eat corn within a day or two after buying as the natural sugar in corn turns to starch and the corn will be less sweet.

A quick zap in the microwave loosens the silk on the ear and the ear slides out silk and husk free.

Watch this great video on shucking and cooking corn.

If you boil your corn, keep cooking times to a minimum. I bring the water to a boil, I add the corn and when water returns to a boil I cook for only 3 minutes.

Corn can be cooked in so many ways!  It can be steamed, boiled, grilled or roasted on the cob.  Off the cob, it makes delicious fritters, chowder, pudding or salad.

Here is a collection of corn recipes from the Food Network.