Although August means summer is nearing its end, it also means fresh Minnesota sweet corn is here. As always, this year’s local sweet corn is worth the wait! Although it was a rough spring, Justin Wolfsteller from Wild Wind Farms in Princeton has started picking and said the crop is looking good. Sweet corn in southern Minnesota and the metro area is nearing its peak and will continue to be harvested through late August and early September.
When selecting your sweet corn, look for ears with brown, dried silk on the ends. You can even slightly peel back the husk to check for plump kernels. Sweet corn is best when it is fresh and stored properly. Leave the husk intact and store it in the refrigerator. Do not keep it in a plastic bag or airtight container. Wolfsteller suggests preparing it within 5-7 days of picking.
Sweet corn is easy to freeze and re-heat. It's best to use a vacuum sealer or freezer-safe plastic bag. Cook the corn first (boiling cobs for 8-10 minutes), then quickly cool the corn by placing it in very cold water/ice water. You can freeze the whole cob or remove the kernels and package them in portion-sized, freezer-safe bags. Don't forget to label and date your bags! Sweet corn can last up to 12 months in the freezer so you can enjoy this summer staple all year long.
Sweet corn can be used in many ways. Although it is commonly eaten off the cob, the kernels may be removed and added to salads, salsas, casseroles, soups, pastas and more! For eating corn on the cob, it is often boiled or grilled. When boiling, it's important to remove the husk and all the silk. Wolfsteller suggests rinsing the ears before dropping them into boiling water. Boil for 4-6 minutes and avoid overcooking. There are also several methods for grilling sweet corn. Most call for leaving the husks/silk on the ears and soaking them for 15 minutes to 2 hours prior to grilling them 10-20 minutes.
For a tasty spin, try gently peeling back the husks and silk, and coating the kernels with toppings or spices. Have you ever thought of sprinkling cinnamon and crushed pecans over your buttered cob? Love the simplicity of butter and salt? Try butter, parsley and Parmesan cheese. For spicier taste buds, try sour cream, red pepper flakes or chili powder, cayenne pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Have fun experimenting with other seasonings based on your tastes or accompanying dishes.
Did you know?
Corn has been cultivated by humans for about 4,000 years! The white kernel sweet corn variety has been around for only a little over 200 years. It wasn't until the early 20th century that the yellow variety of sweet corn that we know and love was developed. You can now find it in white, yellow or bi-color (both yellow and white) kernels. Thanks to plant breeding, the sweet corn we know today is sweeter than field corn.
Looking for additional twists on sweet corn? Minnesota Grown member Lakes & Legends Brewing Company will be pouring sweet corn beer at the Minnesota State Fair, August 24 through September 4 at the O'Gara's at the Fair building. The beer will be brewed with Minnesota Grown sweet corn from the Untiedts Vegetable Farm.
Hold onto summer by crunching on an ear of fresh sweet corn! Find sweet corn near you by using the Minnesota Grown Directory and our 75 farmers who sell it across the state.