When I bought the first ears of local corn of the season at a local supermarket, it was amazingly sweet and flavorful. It was local corn at its finest; it must have been fresh from the farm a bare hour from picking. Certainly the husks were green, moist, and tight to the ear.
I cooked two ears that night. The flavor was unbelievably sweet; the corn kernels were tender. It set the standard for taste for the rest of the 2008 corn season in my kitchen.
After a long winter and a cool spring, I had forgotten just how good local corn in the summer tastes.
I do think Ohio corn is particularly good. I had North Carolina corn early in July and it wasn t as tender or sweet as the Lucas County corn I bought upon my return. Maybe it wasn t as fresh from the farm.
While some cookbook authors and chefs recommend brushing the corn with seasoned butter or other spices, I want the real, natural corn flavor with a little bit of butter and salt.
Many diet cookbooks and cookbooks in general omit recipes for fresh corn, which is a great sacrifice of flavor. I know that there s enough starch and calories in an ear of corn to qualify it as a piece of bread. High in the B vitamin thiamine and in fiber, corn ought to be worthy of consideration for any dieter. Just modify with a bunless burger or skip the bread or potato in the meal.
I was happy to find Herb-Roasted Corn on the Cob in Mr. Food s Quick & Easy Diabetic Cooking by Art Ginsburg (American Diabetes Association, $16.95). The recipe uses a mere two tablespoons corn oil stick margarine to four medium ears of fresh corn on the cob: Thus for the person who calculates diabetic exchanges, it is 1 starch and fat.
Mix n Match Meals in Minutes for People with Diabetes Second Edition by Linda Gassenheimer (American Diabetes Association, $16.95) includes three recipes with corn: Roast Beef Sandwich with Corn Relish; Chicken Pita Pocket with Tomato and Corn Salsa, and Salsa Beef Salad.
Rachael Ray is a girl after my heart with Yum-O! The Family Cookbook (Potter, $22.50). She knows that kids love corn. Turkey Vegetable Chili is a Rollover Supper: Night 1 is Turkey Bolognese Pasta with five to six cups leftover sauce. There s enough sauce for Turkey Tomato Soup and Turkey Vegetable Chili made with zucchini, corn, black or red beans, and spices, which is easy enough for kids to make.
Take advantage of fresh corn, whether you cut it off the cob, make creamed corn, or put it in dishes such as soups, enchiladas, corn bread, or freeze it for later in the year.
Not only can you can find locally grown corn in some supermarkets. Farm stands and farmers markets also are selling this treasure of summer.
You can also search out local farmers such as grower Mike Hoen of Hoen s Orchard at 12540 County Rd. 7-2, Delta . He has a stand by his barn where he s selling bi-color (sugar enhanced) corn now. In about 10 days he expects to have some white corn. (He also has u-pick green beans, red raspberries, some blueberries if the birds stay away, and eggplant and Asian varieties of hot peppers. By mid-August, tomatoes may be ready to pick although it might be later because of cold weather in May and abundant rain this summer.)
Fresh corn is as close as a farmers market. Louise Mikesell-Wireman of the Center for Innovative Food Technology notes that Aug. 3-9 is National Farmers Market Week designated by USDA. There are 4,300 farmers markets across the country. Locally, there is the Toledo Farmers Market downtown and at Westgate. Other markets are at Mayberry Square in Sylvania; the JCC in Sylvania; Waterville; Perrysburg; Bowling Green; Genoa, and Augsburg Lutheran Church in Toledo. Northwest Ohio has a market in every county.
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