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Food of the Month: Corn

It finally feels like summer and when I think of summer I think of sweet, juicy corn on the cob. Grilled, roasted or microwaved it doesn't matter, it is simply delicious!

What is it? 

Corn was originally a wild grain but was domesticated thousands of years ago in Mexico. Sweet corn is harvested when the crop is immature and is considered a vegetable and mature corn is dried, like popcorn and is considered a whole grain. Unfortunately, corn is grown primarily as feed for livestock because it is cheap and easy to grow. Since livestock don't naturally eat this as food they have trouble digesting it and as a result this leads to a host of other problems that result in antibiotic use.

Health Benefits

Corn is a good source of fiber as well as folate, vitamin C, niacin and antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin both of which improve eye health.

How to Choose and Store

Choose the most colorful variety.  If possible choose the deepest yellow corn you can.  You may even find varieties of blue, purple and red at farmers markets but not at your local grocery store.  Regular sweet corn is listed on the "Clean 15" list so there is no need to buy organic.  However, supersweet corn is another matter.  In order to grow the varieties of supersweet corn that consumers have come to crave, farmers must use increasing amounts of pesticides.  In order to avoid this buying organic is always safest.  When choosing corn pick the ears with green, snug husks and plump kernels.  Eat the corn as soon as possible as the sugar in the kernels will be converted into starch the longer it sits in the refrigerator and lose its sweetness.

How to Cook 

Traditionally corn was stripped of its husk and silk and dropped into boiling water.  The problem with this is that it loses a great deal of its nutrients this way.  The less contact corn has with water the better.  Instead, microwave the corn with the husks intact on high for approximately 3-4 minutes for a single ear and 5-6 minutes for two ears adding a minute or two per ear for larger quantities.   Once the corn is done allow it to cool for 5 minutes then remove the husks and silks.  Another option is to grill the corn in its husks for approximately 5 minutes, turning several times.  Remove the silks and husks and return the corn to the grill to get a charred flavor.

How to Use

  • In a salad
  • As a side dish plain or with spices of your choice
  • As a topping in a taco bar
  • In soups
  • As part of a salsa (see recipe below)

Riley's Black Bean, Corn and Tomato Salsa

Ingredients:

1 Can of Black Beans

1 cup of grape or cherry tomatoes diced

1 can or 1 cup of roasted corn

Juice of 1-2 limes

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Rinse and drain black beans and corn.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl adding salt and pepper and additional lime to taste.
  3. Serve chilled with tortilla chip, corn chips or on top of a salad.

 

 

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