Savor the Season with Locally Grown Sweet Corn
Sweet corn is a seasonal delight every summer that is enjoyed by both young and old. The Iroquois gave the first recorded sweet corn (called 'Papoon') to European settlers in 1779. Sweet corn ws the result of a strain of the Iroquois white flint meal corn that mutated to form Papoon. In the 1850’s improved and cross bred varieties began appearing and it became popular soon after in the southern and central regions of the U.S.
Local farmstands and farmers’ markets are a good choice for the freshest sweet corn during the summer months. Farmers pick the ears early in the day while it’s still cool to maintain the best freshness and flavor. If you are unsure about the freshness, it’s a good idea to ask if the corn has been picked that day. To purchase sweet corn, look for fresh green husks and ears that are filled to the tip and kernels that are tender, full and firm enough to break under the slightest pressure. Once you arrive home, refrigerate the ears immediately to retain its freshness and flavor.
The sweetness of sweet corn is related to the sugar content in the kernels and some varieties are sweeter than others. While color does not determine the flavor, the genotype of sweet corn – normal sugary; sugary enhanced; supersweet, does. While each type of sweet corn has differing amounts of sugar in the endosperm, supersweet varieties also have a gene that converts that sugar into starch more slowly allowing for more sweetness. Many farmers grow and sell the supersweet varieties because most customers prefer the sweeter taste. If you’re unsure about what type it is, your best bet is to ask the farmer.
Enjoy locally grown sweet corn this summer – it’s sure to be a family favorite while it lasts!