By Bernadine Chapman-Cruz
When thoughts of enjoying fresh produce come to mind, corn on the cob is an all-time favorite. Corn is the fruit of the Zea mays plant. Although technically classified as a grain, corn is more commonly associated with the vegetable family. Maize, another term for corn, has been cultivated in Mexico, North, Central and South America for over 8000 years. Corn is grown worldwide with the exception of Antarctica.
There are over 100 varieties of corn. Colors range from white and yellow to pink, red, blue, purple and black. Sweet white and yellow corn are the most common types sold for human consumption. Dent or field corn is used as animal feed. Dried multi-colored corn, known as Flint, is a popular addition to autumn holiday décor.
Generally, corn contains 18 rows and approximately 800 kernels. Calorie count ranges from 85 to 125 per ear, depending on size. Corn is high in antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber and sugar as well as other nutrients. Scientific studies have found corn a beneficial food in treating high blood pressure, certain types of cancer and helpful in regulating blood sugar levels associated with diabetes.
When selecting corn on the cob, look for plump ears with healthy, tight, fresh green husks hosting kernels in close fitting rows. Silk should be moist and free flowing. Corn can be prepared in a variety of ways. Methods include boiling, steaming, roasting, grilling and microwaving.
When using a wet cooking process like boiling or steaming, shuck corn by removing the husk and silk. Rinse corn and boil or steam in unsalted water for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender. The addition of salt tends to harden kernels and lessen flavor. For dry cooking methods including roasting, grilling, broiling or microwaving, corn can be cooked with or without the husk. Cooking time varies between five to ten minutes, with frequent turning. Soak ears for a few minutes prior to cooking to retain moisture, for both shucked and in-husk preparation. For optimal flavor cook and serve corn on the day of purchase. With the addition of a little butter, salt and pepper, corn on the cob is a delicious summertime treat. Copyright 2011 ©Bernadine Chapman-Cruz
No-Cook Corn Salad
4 ears corn (uncooked)
1 large tomato (diced)
1 medium red or white onion (diced)
1 red or green bell pepper (diced)
1 cucumber (peeled and diced)
1 medium zucchini (unpeeled and diced)
1/4 – 1/2 cup Italian Dressing
Salt and pepper to taste
- Shuck and wash corn
- Cut kernels off cob and set aside in large bowl
- Dice tomato, onion, bell pepper, cucumber and zucchini and mix with corn
- Toss with salad dressing
- Season to taste
- Chill prior to serving