How Sweet it is!
Olathe Sweet Corn is a special fall treat for my family. Fresh Colorado sweet corn is only available from mid-July to mid-October so when my Extension colleague offered to bring me a box of fresh-picked Olathe sweet corn--- of course I said "yes." Next, I needed a plan for dealing with those forty-seven ears of sweet, creamy goodness.
Olathe, Colorado has the perfect climate and soil for consistently producing the sweet, bicolor corn that I look forward to each year. In a perfect world, the corn should be eaten within 24 hours of harvest...but that's not happening during my work week. So what are the best corn management strategies for busy locavores?
- Freshly picked corn should be refrigerated immediately. Look for farm stands that store their corn in a cooler or on ice. Bring a cooler of ice to pick up your corn so that it will remain chilled for the drive back home.
- Select ears that have fresh green husks and silk ends that are free from decay. The kernels should burst with juice when punctured.
- Share the wealth. It may sound corny (ahem...) but be generous with your corn. Give it to workmates, neighbors and friends while it is still at it's peak of freshness.
There are many methods for cooking corn, but the most important tip --- don't over-cook your corn.
The method that you chose for preparing your corn will depend on the number you're feeding and your cooking equipment.
- Cooking for 1 or 2? Microwave ovens work well for cooking 1 or 2 ears of corn. Leaving the corn in the husk, place the ears in the microwave and cook on high for 4 minutes for one ear or 8 minutes for 2 ears. Rotate the corn several times during cooking. Let the ears rest for a few minutes before removing the husk. The ears will be hot, so make sure to protect your hands with a hot pad or mitt.
- Cooking for a small group? Boiled corn on the cob is an easy way to cook a half-dozen ears and an easy way to cook more when guests decide they want another ear. Bring 2 gallons of water to a boil, add the shucked ears of corn, then bring the water back to a boil. Cook until corn is tender, about 5-7 minutes (no longer!) Another corn cooking option for a small gathering is grilling your corn. For detailed instructions for grilling corn, check out my instructions for grilling corn.
- Cooking for a crowd? "Cooler Corn" is a great way to serve corn on the cob to a large group. Clean & sanitize your insulated cooler, then fill it with shucked ears of corn. Cover the corn with boiling water, then close the lid and let them cook for 30 minutes. The corn will remain warm for over an hour and can be easily transported to your family gathering or company picnic (my office is famous for bringing cooler corn).
Once you've eaten your fill or given away your fresh corn, consider preserving the rest. Check out these Colorado State University Extension fact sheets on Freezing Vegetables, Canning Vegetables and Drying Vegetables for instructions on how to preserve your corn. Be aware that canning corn will require high altitude adjustments and must be processed in a pressure canner.52