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Corn

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Available

August 1 - October 15

Harvest Period

August 1 - October 15

Corn is one of the most versatile of the world’s grains, and the only one to have originated in the Americas. The proliferation of corn around the world followed two main routes – one through Central and North America to other indigenous people, and the second through the conquering Spaniards who then introduced it to Europe and beyond. Based on archaeological evidence of the Princess Point Indians, who lived along the north shore of Lake Erie, it is known that corn was being cultivated in southern Ontario as early as 500 AD.

What to Look For

Check that the husks are fresh looking, tight, and green (not yellowed or dry); strip back part of the husk to see whether tightly packed rows of plump kernels fill the ear. The kernels at the tip should be smaller (large kernels at the tip are a sign of over-maturity) but still plump rather than shrunken. If you pop a kernel with your fingernail, milky juice should spurt out. The stalk of a freshly picked ear of corn will be green and moist and the silk should be moist, soft, and light golden.

Cleaning and Preparation

Leave the corn unhusked until you are ready to cook it. If you have more corn on hand than you can use within a day or two, remove the husks and silk and parboil them for just a minute or two (this step stops the conversion of sugar to starch); they can then be refrigerated it for up to three days.

Storage

Fresh corn is the best corn so try not to store it for more than a few hours. If it can’t be cooked as soon as possible after it is picked, be sure to refrigerate it the moment you get home. At room temperature, sweet corn loses its sugar six times faster than in the refrigerator or up to half its total sugar in one day.

Choose only freshly picked corn to freeze. Husk and remove silk. Blanch for 4 minutes, plunge into ice water until the corn is chilled, drain and then remove kernels from the cob.  Pack kernels into freezer bags or containers.

Nutritional Information

Corn has a high concentration of two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that play a pivotal role in preventing heart disease, cancer, macular degeneration and cataracts.  It is also a good source of thiamine, folate, vitamin C, phosphorus, manganese and pantothenic acid.

1 ear of corn (77g) contains 83 calories, 1g fat, 19g carbohydrates, 2.2g dietary fibre, and 2.6g protein.

How to Use

Corn can either be husked and boiled for 10 minutes, or left in the husk and roasted on the barbeque or open fire.

Corn is a classic ingredient in savoury puddings and soup, relishes and fritters.  Teamed up with Mexican flavours, corn pairs well with beans to create a complete protein meal.

Varieties

Among the dozens of varieties grown in Ontario are Miracle, Kandy Korn, Earlyvee, Flavorvee, Escalade, Silver Queen, Phenomenal, Seneca, Champ, Horizon and Extra Early Supersweet.