Corn at the farmers market is a sure-fire signal that summer is in full swing. If you ignored the 90-degree weather, you could tell it was summer by the piles of sweet corn filling up the tables the farmers markets and roadside stands.
As a kid, I had to shuck bushels of corn. It was not my favorite chore. The worst part about it was not knowing if I would find a big fat worm at the top of the ear chomping away at the kernels. I only really minded the worms if I accidentally touched them. Yuck. I developed a technique that minimized that risk. I folded the long green husks over the sliks to provide a barrier before I would shuck the ear. Sometimes they still slimmed me. The sweet taste of corn was certainly worth any potential critter encounter. I guess the worms and I both knew a good thing when we tasted it.
The sugars in corn starts to turn to starch after it is picked, so eat it fresh. My mom always liked to start to boil the water before she picked the corn. Now, that is fresh corn!
Since I am a frugal gal, I was happy to see that you can use the whole ear of corn; the cob, husk, silks and all. I usually toss it all the leftovers in the compost, but here are a few ideas:
– save and dry the husk for tamales;
– use dried husk to make dolls, stuff a mattress or use as packing material;
– make corncob jelly;
– make a therapeutic tea out of the silks;
– whittle yourself, or next winter’s snowman, a corncob pipe.
My, my… and you thought corn was just a summer side dish.
My favorite way to prepare corn is to simply boil it. I like to give it a quick dip in boiling water for only three minutes. Then, of course, I slather it in butter, and often eat more than one ear. I always start with this straightforward approach, but as the summer progresses, I venture to other corn recipes.