The sweetness of summer is surely reflected in the marvelous corn harvest now available at all local farm stands and farmers’ markets. This incredibly flavorful crop is a great blessing for conscious cooks who deeply appreciate this wonderfully delicious and nutritious ingredient. One of the most succulent and satisfying summer crops, sweet corn is simply spectacular. While all fresh farm stand corn is delectable, I am particularly enamored of the corn grown at Clovernook Farm, an 8th generation, family-owned farm, at 50 Fairwood Road in Bethany. One of the oldest operating farms in the state of Connecticut, Clovernook Farm has been selling hand-picked produce since 1765!
Sweet corn is an admirably adaptable and key component of summer recipes. Strip the kernels off cooked cobs and combine with black beans, cherry tomatoes, cilantro and lime juice for a zesty salsa, enliven tender cornbread with slivers of jalapeno, corn kernels and sharp cheddar cheese for a marvelous summer barbecue side dish. Grilled corn is a smoky sweet sensation, corn kernels blended with cream and broth meld into a velvety corn soup, or for a truly luxe eating experience, combine sweet corn with luscious lobster chunks, scallions and a bit of basil mayonnaise for a regal summer salad.
Corn may be considered by some to be a less than stellar health ingredient, when, in fact, it delivers significant nutritional benefits. Containing both soluble and insoluble fiber, corn consumed regularly may help lower the risk of heart disease, while also promoting regularity and preventing constipation.
A whole-grain food, sweet corn is low in fat, contains about 80 calories per ear and supplies two vital carotenoids; lutein and zeaxanthin (zee-uh-zanthin) that support eye health by possibly reducing the risk of macular degeneration , a leading cause of blindness among the elderly. Lutein may also prevent hardening of the arteries which can lead to heart attack and stroke. Sweet corn contains folate, a vitamin that supports cardiovascular health and prevents birth defects.
When buying corn, look for ears that feel plump and heavy, with silks that are moist, not dried out and brittle. Fresh corn should ideally be consumed that day; the moment the corn is picked the sugar content starts turning starchy. But unpeeled ears can be stored in the refrigerator to hold overnight, for the next day’s dinner.
Enjoy the great blessings of this magnificent crop while preparing your delicious life.
Sweet Corn Salad
3 ears fresh corn, husks and silk removed
1 orange bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 purple or red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, cut into ½ inch pieces
2 scallions, thinly sliced,
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely minced
1-2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 good-sized bunch fresh cilantro, washed and chopped
Cook the ears of corn in boiling water for 5-8 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like it. Remove corn from water and let cool, then slice off kernels.
Place kernels in a large bowl and add all peppers, scallion, rice wine vinegar, olive oil and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Slice the lime into quarters and squeeze a wedge over salad. Mix gently to combine. Taste and add more seasoning and lime juice if desired.
Best if enjoyed immediately, but you can prepare in the morning and serve that evening, without much loss of sweetness and flavor.
Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, “The Conscious Cook”, is a passionate food and wellness professional who earned her certification in holistic health counseling from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University Teacher’s College. She earned her cooking experience in the kitchen! Robin specializes in teaching healthy cooking classes to children and adults utilizing, fresh, natural ingredients and simple, delicious recipes. She conducts cooking demonstrations for many local organizations and is available for cooking parties and private instruction as well. For more information go to www.theconsciouscook.net. Robin’s blog is confessionsofaconsciouscook.blogspot.com.