Corn, also known as maize, is part of the gramineae family (which also includes wheat, oats, and rye). While corn has long been a staple in the Americas, over time strains have been selected for sugar content leading to today’s sweet corn hybrids. While the hybrid varieties have sacrificed some nutrition in favor of sweetness, today’s corn still has a notable amount of vitamins A and B-complex, phosphorus, potassium, and vegetable protein. In fact, corn combined with beans or dairy (as in many traditional dishes) forms a complete protein.
Refrigerate with husks left on, and use as soon as possible. For longer-term storage, blanch for 3-5 minutes and freeze in an airtight container (this can be done on or off the cob).
As corn’s sugars quickly convert to starches after picking, sweet corn is best enjoyed as soon as possible after it has been harvested. Refrigerating helps slow this process. To enjoy the popular corn on the cob, shuck corn and steam corn in 1-2 inches of water for 6-10 minutes or place in boiling water for 3-6 minutes. To grill corn, place unhusked ears on the grill for approximately 20 minutes (soaking in water before putting on the grill will help keep the ear moist). Corn is a great addition to chowders, soups, sautés, corn bread, bean dishes, fried rice and salads.
Corn and Wild Rice Fritters
1 cup cooked wild rice
Kernels from 2 ears cooked corn
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
¼ cup finely chopped green onion
¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
¼ tablespoon salt
Combine all ingredients but oil and salsa. Fill a heavy skillet with oil to a depth of ¼ inch. Heat over medium heat until oil appears shimmery and it bubbles immediately when a small amount of batter is dropped into it. Drop 2 tablespoons to 1/3 cup of batter into the oil, cooking a few fritters at a time to avoid crowding. Cook in batches until brown and cooked through. Drain fritters on paper towels, and serve with salsa. Yields approximately 8 larger pancakes or 24 small fritters. (Recipe by MACSAC in From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce (Third Edition).)