Aug
17
2010

  Tender Fresh Corn, Harvested by Flashlight

I went out tonight to harvest my first ears of Silver Queen sweet corn. I've read that corn starts out with something like 80/20 sweetness to starch ratio, which inverts to 20/80 after just two days off the stalk. Something like that. So this year I grew my own corn so I could see if I could taste the difference between something right off the stalk and something I could get at a farmstand or grocery store.

Oh yeah, I could taste the difference.

But to me, the big difference was not the sweetness. My corn didn't taste overly sweet to me. But the tenderness, my goodness! The kernels practically melted in my mouth. I wasn't expecting that! The corn was sweet enough, don't get me wrong, it was delicious. But I guess from reading all about the joys of just-picked corn, I expected it to taste like sugar cane or something. Perhaps in another year, it might have. The drought could have something to do with it. But this corn was so tender, it's hard to believe. As I finished off my ear, floored by the quality of my home-grown corn, I told T that I want to expand my corn production for next year.

This year I had a 10' x 10' patch with the corn, squash, and peas. Next year I'll go with a 40' x 40' patch. And I'll be sure to plant beans next year instead of peas. The Three-Sisters thing really should have been with beans. I thought it would be the same difference with peas, but it's not. And I'll stagger the plantings. I'll plant the first patch just after April 15th, then plant the following patches a month later each time, to extend my season. That way I'll have both corn to eat, and corn to freeze. This year, I can guarantee, we'll be eating all the corn. It's not that much, maybe four or five ears per stalk, and I've only got a handful of stalks. Maybe ten, I haven't counted.

I cooked the corn by boiling it quickly. I put the pot of water on before I harvested the corn. When the water was boiling, I went outside with a flashlight to look for the ripest ears. The corn is at the perfect level of ripeness when you split a kernel with your fingernail and the juice is milky. If the juice is clear, it is too soon. If the juice is thick and white, you are too late. Milky is just right. So I remembered where I'd found the perfect ear in the daytime, and found a second ear for T when I went out there. I'll pick some more tomorrow.

I brought the ears in, shucked them, then put them in the boiling water for five minutes. It seemed like perhaps that would not have been long enough, but it was perfect, I'm glad I took them out as soon as the timer went off. I ate them with butter and salt. But really, it would have been pretty darn good even without the butter. Seriously, this corn was like eating a different food than you get in the supermarket.

Unfortunately for everyone else, T will NOT be selling my corn at the markets this year. I am going to eat it all up myself. If anyone wants a taste, I might be persuaded to share if you come out to the farm, but I'm not making any promises. . .