Sunday, April 7, 2013

How Sweet It (Corn) Is!

I don't know about you all, but sweet corn reminds me of summer barbeques at my parent's house, with friends, in the mountains, and on the lake.  A fresh ear of sweet corn is the perfect companion to a homemade burger and potato salad. YUM!

We're lucky to even have sweet corn around to enjoy! The high sugar content that makes these varieties of corn so delicious is the result of a recessive mutation in the corn's genes. Sweet corn was grown by Native American tribes before white settlers came to this continent. The Iroquois people first shared their sweet corn with settlers in 1779, after which it became a widely popular crop.

Sweet Corn Soda
There are now hundreds of varieties of sweet corn, and it is grown all over the world. Sweet corn can be prepared a multitude of ways, but is usually eaten fresh, frozen, or canned. Sweet corn can be dried on the cob and the kernels fried in oil, but instead of popping, the kernels swell up, making corn nuts. This is a pretty versatile crop, and can be grilled, roasted, ground, creamed, soaked in milk, put in soups, salads, salsas, bread, on pizza, baked into cakes, and made in to ice cream! There's even a sweet corn soda!

Sweet corn varieties availble nowadays have been selectively bred to have much higher sugar contents than those that our ancestors had, although heirloom varieties, such as Golden Bantam, are still available. Sweet corn also provides a bunch of vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber. Sweet corn varieties have names that make you want to eat it up: Honey and Cream, Sugarloaf, Butter and Sugar. Can't wait for sweet corn season!

Plant your corn in the spring after the danger of frost has passed. Sweet corn requires a lot of growing space, good soil, and lots of water to produce well. After you pick your corn, get the cobs cooled as quickly as possible, as the sugar content starts to decrease rapidly in hot weather after being picked. Or you coud just eat it!

For more information on sweet corn, including recipies and growing tips, visit these sites:

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