How to select and eat corn
It’s post-July 4th – time for corn.
No self-respecting Northeasterner eats corn before the July 4th holiday and even then, some Western New Yorkers won’t partake in those yellow ears until at least August when they can be assured that their corn comes from a farm no more than 60 miles away.
My sister-in-law Maureen worked on a Francavilla Farm in Fairfield, NJ starting when she was 13 until she became a mother at age 30. She was in charge of dumping corn on the farm stand and selecting corn for special orders.
This makes her the family authority on corn. We were shucking corn for our July 4th BBQ when she noticed that two ears my mother purchased had been partially peeled.
This is a cardinal no-no and the inspiration for this blog post.
So, here are Maureen’s tips for properly selecting and preparing corn:
- Only buy corn when it is local and fresh – that means the summer and the summer only. No January corn!
- Look at the corns husk and make sure it is green and the bottoms are not dry.
- The silks should be a hue of pale yellow (we just used the word Hue in a Bananagrams game. It’s a good word game word.)
- Inspect the husks for possible worm holes and other imperfections. This usually happens at the end of the season.
- Fondle your corn. Check it all around to make sure it is fully formed and not missing kernels.
- DO NOT open the corn at the farm stand or store. It will immediately lose its freshness. This means NO SHUCKING corn at the store, unless you will immediately cook it. I’ve been known to give many corn shuckers at Wegmans dirty looks. Do they not know that they are murdering their corn?
- If an ear of corn is particularly good, you can eat it raw and it will be full of sweet flavor.
- Steaming not boiling is the best way to eat corn.
- It only needs five minutes in the steamer to completely cook.
- Maureen loves butter and salt. You don’t have to butter and salt your corn if it’s good, but she still does.
All welcome the season of corn!