Corn in the U.S.A. Article -
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Corn in the U.S.A.

Corn: an American original.

So versatile, corn is perhaps the New World's most generous crop.

Symbol of Summer

Corn is at its peak from May through September. Unlike some fruits and vegetables that ripen and improve with time off the plant, corn always tastes best freshly plucked from the stalk. Though corn is now bred to stay sweet longer, the sugars in corn will begin to break down and turn to starch immediately after being picked. This is why roadside farm stands usually have the best corn!

How to Choose Your Corn

  • Look for ears that have some heft for their size; good weight can mean the center hasn't been eaten away by bugs or fungus.
  • Look for moist, bright green husks clutching tightly to the ear and healthy (not dry) silk protruding at the top.
  • To check out the condition of the kernels, don't yank down the husks--it dries out the corn and leaves it susceptible to fungus (and annoys the grocer or farmer); instead, feel around the silk end to make sure the kernels are plump and healthy all the way to the tip.

Ah, Shucks! Tips for Preparing Corn

  • When grilling corn, first pull back the husks and remove the silk, then return the husks to cover the kernels. Soak the ears in water for about 30 minutes before placing the corn on the hot grill.
  • Corn cooks quickly. Cook corn until the cob gives slightly when pierced with a knife but is not soft.  Boiled corn (husked, with the silk removed) cooks in 2 to 3 minutes.  Steamed corn takes about 10 minutes.
  • To remove the kernels, run a sharp knife down along the cob (it might be easier to cut the cob in half first), taking the kernels off in rows, being careful not to cut into the cob. Special tools--"corn zippers"--can also do the job.

Corn's Flavor Companions

Grown to be sweet and tender, fresh corn is a tremendous flavor-pairing partner. Its original flavor companions remain some of the best: chile peppers, beans and tomatoes. To this list, we can add butter, cheese, limes, cream, and fresh herbs. Fresh corn can be added to soups, stews, salsas, salads, breads, pancakes and puddings.

Children of the Corn

When treated with lye, which removes the skin around the kernels, corn becomes hominy. Dried and ground, hominy becomes grits. Cornmeal is coarsely ground corn, which is used in polenta. Cornstarch, a more finely ground meal, thickens sauces, stews and gravies. Corn flour, or masa, is made into tortillas, chips and taco shells.

Dec. 26, 2009 6:47 am
I live in a country that doesn't have hominy. Can I substitute corn in recipies that call for hominy?
That Biology Geek 
Aug. 4, 2010 4:21 am
Hominy has a really different texture than corn. You could probably substitute, but it would definitely change the flavor and texture of the final product. You can make your own hominy by exposing dry corn to an alkaline solution. Traditionally, this was accomplished through the addition of wood ash in water which produced lye. Lye is of course caustic and dangerous so many modern recipes use baking soda instead.
Jul. 19, 2011 8:25 am
There is no reason (that I know of) to remove the silk before grilling corn. The silk comes off much much easier after grilling.
Jul. 20, 2011 10:35 am
when you pull back the husk to remove the silk - it doesn't go back in place very easily. I agree with cjucoder, no reason to do so that I know of.
Jul. 21, 2011 12:37 pm
I don't remove the silk. But I do cut off part of the tip of the ear maybe about 1/2" down from the point and most of the stalk end leaving about 1 to 1/2 inches of stalk. This removes most of the silk from the end and the shortened stalk makes the ears smaller and removes most of the bad outer leaves. Then I soak the ears. I also can judge the ear's health by seeing if the end kernels are nice looking.
Jul. 22, 2011 6:02 am
we cook our corn on a grill --with a slight twist-- husk & de-silk corn-- wrap corm in alum. foil-- BUT befroe you wrap the corn spread ome sala on the corn wrap tightly with foil and cook on gril YUM YUM! no butter or salt needed!
eat well 
Jul. 22, 2011 12:17 pm
Thanks hicone for the aluminium suggestion. I will try.
May 7, 2012 12:12 am
This article has alot of new recipes to make with corn. I love it, especially white corn and my favorite is grilled in the husk. I usually remove silk, pull the husk back over ear and tie top with a strip of the husk, then soak in water for 30 minutes and grill. It turns out delicious. It's alot of work tho and next time I think I will try it without removing the silks. That sounds much easier.
Jun. 28, 2012 5:38 pm
What is the best way to freeze corn & can it be frozen on the cob?
Jul. 2, 2012 3:31 am
I cook corn on the cob in the microwave. No prep needed for corn. Place in microwave & cook on high until you can smell the steamy corn. Let rest & steam for a few minutes. Remove husks & silk. Serve with softened real butter. Best corn we've ever eaten. And use the freshest corn you can buy.
Jul. 2, 2012 5:18 pm
No pun intended just preferance i do not like microwaved food always dry somewhere but will try this sounds like it would be good!
Jul. 3, 2012 1:23 pm
I shuck & desilk corn, lay on waxpaper big enough to wrap(we need 2 ears)around corn, spray with butter flavor spray, wrap up, put in microwave, set on high 3 min.,turn over, 3 more min.,let rest about 3 more min., & wa la, eat & enjoy.
Jul. 3, 2012 5:43 pm
I grill corn without removing silk and husk - just make sure you soak it for at least 30 minutes before grilling. Removing the silk is so much easier this way - and you really don't need butter. That great grill/smoky flavor comes through.
Jul. 4, 2012 9:18 am
raleighrhoda ~ yup you can definitely freeze corn. I usually buy a multitude of cobs around Sept when it is sweetest in CA and grill it. Cut the corn off the cob and freeze in a multitude of small freezer bags. I use mine out all winter for soups, stews, chowders, etc. The smoky flavor from the grill gives dishes more complexity and depth of flavor and reminds one of summer in the dead of winter. Hope this helps!
Jul. 5, 2012 10:27 am
raleighrhoda - we freeze our corn on the cob by just putting them in gallon bags with husk and all. We can usually get four to five ears per bag.
Jul. 5, 2012 11:08 am
I agree with Sunflower- I freeze corn on cob and when frozen I put the frozen cobs in my food saver bags and put back in freezer til ready for use.This prevents any "freezer burn" and it tastes like fresh when I prepare it.
Jul. 7, 2012 12:46 pm
If I don't feel like grilling (it's 100 degrees today!), I microwave my corn and it tastes great! Remove husk and silk, wrap each piece individually in plastic wrap and stack like a pyramid and cook. It steams itself! Yum!
Jul. 7, 2012 5:10 pm
I bought corn from a stand today (thought it would be fresh). It had a gummy feeling when you ate it after it was boiled. Have any idea what caused this?
Jul. 7, 2012 7:06 pm
There is an EASY way to remove the husk & silk, as demonstrated by the gentleman on the following video. The corn slips right out, nice & clean!
Jul. 8, 2012 7:22 pm
My secret to choosing the ears of corn at the market is to look for corn silks that are not bright green, but opt for the ones that have turned golden or even a little brown. This indicates the corn stayed on the stalk longer, and has developed more of it's delicious sugar.
Aug. 17, 2012 6:26 pm
what is the best way to freeze corn on the cob? our corn is so good from the roadside vendors that I want to be able to enjoy that flavour well into the winter time, too.
Sep. 19, 2012 8:58 am
I had just received a HUGE bag of corn on the cob this weekend and OMG, wondered what I was going to do with it. After checking around, I came up with blanching the cobs after husking them for 10 minutes in hot boiling water then giving them an icecube & water bath for 4 minutes to stop the cooking process. Let them drain then bag them as is in freezer bags and freeze them. Its pretty simple but a little time consuming and the house smells good too. Any idea's what to do with 50lb bag of red potatos? YIKES! The price was good and couldn't pass it up!
Jun. 24, 2013 3:15 am
I make a Fresh corn chowder w/Saffron and Red bells every year during the peak of corn season. Love corn!
Jun. 26, 2013 1:25 pm
What is the best way to boil corn?
Jun. 26, 2013 5:18 pm
the best way to find corn is ORGANIC look for non GMO almost all corn in U.S IS GMO
Jun. 27, 2013 5:15 pm
you can find it in most of the shops around Brixton market. A more central location is Cool chili co. stall at Borough market (London Bridge)
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