Enjoy the Taste of Fresh Corn This Summer

— Written By and last updated by

Fresh corn on the cob husked and not huskedGolden ears of sweet corn are one of summer’s true delights! Many supermarkets and farm stands are beginning to offer this just-picked, locally grown corn. The harvest often extends well into September.

While a simple, butter-drenched ear is the classic way to enjoy sweet corn, kernels cut from the cob are quite versatile. Toss them in a salad, summer chowder and salsa, or sauté with fresh herbs for a quick side salad.

Yellow corn has large, full-flavored kernels and white corn has small, sweeter-flavored kernels. Bi-color corn has both yellow and white kernels. Select ears with soft, bright green husks that fit tightly against the kernels. The silk should be golden and moist like grass. You should avoid the urge to tear back the husk and inspect the corn. This causes the kernels to lose moisture and freshness.

The natural sugar in corn begins turning to starch the moment the ear is picked. For the sweetest corn, use it on the same day it is purchased. Otherwise, refrigerate ears with their husks and silk intact for no more than one day.

To shuck corn, strip the husks and silk from the ear. Snap the husk, and stem off the bottom. Remove any remaining silk strands with a vegetable brush. Cut away any blemished kernels and rinse under cold water.

To cut kernels from the cob, break the ear in half. Working with one half at a time, hold it upright, flat end down. Use a sharp knife to cut straight down between the kernels and the cob. One ear yields about one-half cup kernels.

Ears of corn can be boiled, steamed, grilled, microwaved, or roasted. Cut kernels can be boiled, steamed, sautéed or microwaved. Sprinkle buttered ears with parmesan cheese instead of salt. Toss corn kernels in with the other vegetables in a mixed green salad and top with your dressing. Stir about one-half cup corn kernels into corn muffin or cornbread batter before baking. Perk up chili or taco meat filling by adding some fresh corn kernels.

Corn can be frozen as corn-on-the cob, whole kernel, or cream-style. You want to select, freshly-gathered corn in the milk. Hush and trim the ears and wash. For corn-on-the-cob, blanch ears one and one-half inches in diameter for 6 minutes, 2 inches in diameter for 8 minutes and larger ears for 10 minutes. Cool. Drain. Wrap ears individually in moisture/vapor-proof film. Pack ears into plastic freezer bags. Seal, label and freeze.

Whole kernel corn- Blanch for 5 or 6 minutes, depending on the size of the ears. Cool; drain; cut corn from cob. Pack corn into can-or-freeze jars or plastic freezer boxes. Seal, label, and freeze.

Cream-style corn- Blanch for 5 or 6 minutes, depending on the size of the ears. Cool; drain; cut tip ends of kernels; scrape cob to extract milk and pulp. Pack corn into can-or-freeze jars or plastic freezer boxes. Seal, label, and freeze.

Corn can also be canned as cream-style or whole kernel. Cream-Style Raw pack method: Husk corn; remove silk. Wash. Cut tip ends of kernels from cob. Scrape cob to extract milk and pulp. Only process into pints. Pack corn loosely into hot jars, leaving 1-inch head space. Do not shake or pack down. Add one-half teaspoon salt to each pint, if desired. Ladle boiling water over corn, leaving 1-inch head space. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints 1 hour and 35 minutes, at 10 pounds pressure in a steam-pressure canner.

Cream-style hot pack method: Husk corn; remove silk. Wash. Cut tip ends of kernels from cob. Scrape cob to extract milk and pulp. Measure. Add one-half teaspoon salt and 1 and one-fourth cups of boiling water to each pint of cut corn. Boil 3 minutes. Only process into pints. Ladle hot corn and hot liquid into hot jars, leaving 1-inch head space. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints 1 hour and 25 minutes, at 10 pounds pressure in a steam-pressure canner.

Whole kernel raw pack method: Husk corn; remove silk. Wash. Cut kernels from cob. Do not scrape. Pack corn loosely into hot jars, leaving 1-inch head space. Do not shake or pack down. Add one-half teaspoon salt to each pint, 1 teaspoon to each quart, if desired. Ladle boiling water over corn, leaving 1-inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints 1 hour, quarts 1 hour and 25 minutes, at 10 pounds pressure in a steam-pressure canner.

Whole kernel hot pack method: Husk corn; remove silk. Wash. Cut kernels from cob. Do not scrape. Measure. Add one-half teaspoon salt and 1 cup boiling water to each pint, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 cups boiling water to each quart. Bring to a boil; reduce and simmer five minutes. Ladle hot corn into hot jars, leaving 1-inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints 55 minutes, quarts 1 hour and 25 minutes, at 10 pounds pressure in a steam-pressure canner.