Gardens, scholars say, are the first sign of commitment to a community. When people plant corn they are saying, let's stay here. And by their connection to the land, they are connected to one another.
While nothing quite beats eating quickly boiled or grilled corn on the cob with butter dribbling down your chin, taking a slightly exotic approach can be nice too. Corn goes south of the border when grilled and topped with a spicy, tangy sauce and a light sprinkle of salty Mexican cheese. The Louisiana favorite Macque Choux is a colorful family-friendly sauté. Corn gets sophisticated with a touch of bacon and meaty mushrooms. Tangy lime juice and coconut milk make Coconut Creamed Corn something special.
Although classified as a vegetable by the USDA, corn is actually a grain. Like other whole grains it is high in complex carbohydrates. Corn contains some protein and fiber and provides some potassium and vitamin C, plus a variety of trace minerals.
The best way to buy corn is in the husk, which protects the kernels from dry air and also tells you how fresh the corn is. Moist green husks are clearly fresher than dry brown ones. The tassel (silky strings at the tip) should be golden brown; a pale tassel is an indication that the corn was picked too early.
Rather than peeling back the husk to check for freshness—this can dry out the corn—feel around through the husk for plump, resilient kernels.
And most important, take the corn home immediately; don’t let it sit in a hot car.
One medium ear of corn yields approximately 1⁄2 cup fresh kernels.
If you can’t eat your corn right away, refrigerate it, with the husks left on, in a plastic bag, and cook within 2 days.
The sooner you can eat corn after purchase, the sweeter it will be, as the sugar in corn begins converting into starch as soon as it’s picked.
Farmers grow corn on every continent except Antarctica.