SLICE OF LIFE: Sweet Seasonal Corn

by Guest Columnist Eileen Goltz

freshcornEvery year I write a column touting the joys of the uber fresh, just picked, road side variety of sweet corn vs. the older than dirt sitting in the cooler variety of fresh corn available in the grocery store. This year, however, I got a call from a friendly neighborhood grocery manager who very proudly told me that they are selling only, local fresh picked corn this year. So I say, let the games begin, get your corn where ever it’s convenient (and fresh).

The most important thing to remember when buying fresh corn on the cob is that corn starts converting sweet tasting sugars to starches immediately after it is picked. So ideally you should buy it, cook it and scarf it down the day it is picked or as close to then as possible. Sweet corn has an 80:20 sugar to starch ratio when it’s picked but within 3 days that ratio flips to 20:80 sugar to starch. This means pick it, cook it, and eat it right away.

When buying your corn, pick up each ear and look for ears that feel full and heavy in your hand. Look at the silk threads sticking out of the top of the ears. These threads should be golden, pale, slightly sticky, and the more there are the better. You also want the husks to have bright green color, not yellowish or brown. If the bottom of the ear is turning brown, skip it; it’s been picked more than 3 days prior to you contemplating buying it.

 If you’re not going to eat the corn the day it’s picked, store it in the refrigerator with the husks on and use these corn-cooking tips when you do cook it.

  • Don't add salt to the water when you cook it. Salt toughens the corn when it cooks.
  • Don't cool off hot corn by running under cold water this will make the corn soggy.
  • Don't cook the corn too long (you can eat it raw) it just needs to be hot. Corn will not be as sweet as it could be if it’s cooked too long.
  • And of course, remember to shuck often and shuck responsibly.

Eileen is sharing the following recipes: Corn and "Crab" Soup, Black Bean and Corn Soup, and Salmon Corn Cakes. Enjoy!

About the Author

eileengoltzphotoEileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer who was born and raised in the Chicago area. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics for various newspapers, magazines and websites across the U.S., Canada, and South Africa as well as the OU Shabbat Shalom Website. She is the author of Perfectly Parve Cookbook (Feldheim) and is a contributing writer for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Book Group, Chicago Sun Times, Detroit Free Press and Woman’s World Magazine. You can visit Eileen's blog at

June 27, 2012

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