Tracker Pixel for Entry

The skinny on corn

All About Food | June 24th, 2015

Photo by Steven De Polo

June 21, the official start of summer. The longest day of the year. The day Druid types gather at Stonehenge and celebrate the day reenacting whatever it was those wacky Druids did back in the day. The original Renaissance Festival. Even though our summer might have just begun it’s been in full bloom south of here.

When I saw that heaping pile of fresh corn at the market I knew it was on. There is nothing better than fresh, buttery, sweet corn on the cob to bring on that summertime feeling. Outside of vine-ripe tomatoes, corn would be my second favorite food of summer with watermelon tagging in at third. And corn is probably the best deal at the grocery store right now.

Corn is a staple of our diet showing up in many guises from cereals, in various ground forms, breads, oils, popcorn and in 40 percent of all processed foods. Unfortunately most of that 40 percent is in the form high fructose corn syrup, a lead player in why obesity is such a factor in our country. But for right now let’s just focus on the better side of corn.

We could talk about the long history of corn, which traces back to 4000 BC according to some stealthy archeologists who poked around ancient Mayan and Incan ruins. It was in Mesoamerica (Mexico and Central America, for those not in the know) that corn took root and was widely incorporated into the daily diet. And it didn’t take long for Native Americans north of the border to embrace corn as a staple in their diet.

It took European settlers some time to catch the corn wave but when they did, corn or maize as it was known as, spread across the Midwest and found its way into the new American diet as well. So it is no surprise that America, with its “corn belt,” is one of the world’s leading suppliers of corn and corn related products. And North Dakota is part of that corn belt and our neighbor Minnesota is one of the top four corn producing states, collectively growing 50 percent of the corn consumed in the USA.

This is where I should weigh in on genetically modified corn and the wide use of pesticides and insecticides used to commercially grow corn. Not listed as one of the “Dirty Dozen” fruits and vegetables that are doused with chemicals (you might be surprised by what is on that list, let’s just say the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” went right out the window) corn gets its fair share. These days you might be hard pressed to find any large commercial producer who is not using GMO seed. Obviously home-grown pesticide free or organic is best, but you won’t find 10 ears for two bucks.

Best cooked as close to harvest as possible, it will still provide great taste after a few days of being off the stalk. Popular ways of cooking are steaming, boiling or grilling. Either way, don’t over-cook it. Slice the kernels off the cob and give them a quick sauté with chopped red onion, green chilies and tomato with a squirt of lime juice and chopped cilantro for a great salsa for chicken or fish.

I like to carefully pull back the husk to remove the silk and then rub the cob all over with a compound butter made of whole sweet butter, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt and a pinch of cayenne before wrapping the husk back over the cob. Place on a moderately hot part of the grill and slowly roast the cobs, an awesome flavor outcome.

Coming from the south where corn is a year-round item, corn rules. You become used to consuming it in various forms, from tortillas to corn bread, chowders to chutneys to foods as savory corn pudding. Superbly versatile, corn pairs well with many foods; fresh salmon, scallops, chicken, in soups and salads.

I am so excited to have it back in the store and when our local corn comes available I will be canning chutneys and salsas to have that farm fresh goodness year round. The first round of fresh corn is like foreplay for tomato season. That's when I get really excited.  

Recently in:

By John Showalter  john.d.showalter@gmail.comEveryone knows that dogs are often referred to as “man’s best friend.” It’s no mystery why. During…

By Olivia Slyteroslyter@cord.eduFalcon Gott, Sapotaweyak Cree Nation member and filmmaker/photographer, was recently named North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival Native American Programs Director, and has many projects in store…

Sons of Norway, Kringen Lodge #4-25, is a fraternal organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Norwegian culture.Sentrum på 722 2nd Ave N, FargoKringen Kafe er åpen for Kaffe og Bakverk mandag-fredag 9.00 til…

By John Strandjas@hpr1.comOur Opinion: The Little Newspaper That Could, still can.Like most everyone else we know, HPR is different these days. The pandemic changed our world in ways we never imagined. Yet here we are. And as you…

By Ed Raymondfargogadfly@gmail.comThe Spread of Luxury and Poverty in the Middle of a PandemicThe wealth gap between the top ten percent and bottom ninety percent has reached staggering proportions. In 1970 the wealthiest families…

Well shiver me timbers. After weeks of sampling some of the finest drinks in F-M from more bars than we could shake a belaying pin at, the results of High Plains Reader’s 6th Annual Cocktail Showdown are in! For nine weeks,…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.com“If you had talked to me five years ago or even a year ago and told me I was gonna be a chef in Fargo I probably would have looked at you pretty funny. It's wild where food is taking me in…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comYou may recognize Owen Hanson, from seeing him play with any number of folk punk projects throughout the past few years, such as his solo project Owen Broke, Bottle Wound, or Mr. Meaner. His folk…

By Greg Carlsongregcarlson1@gmail.comWith almost surgical precision, filmmakers Peter Middleton and James Spinney dissect the life and work of “The Real Charlie Chaplin,” a worthwhile addition to the many studies of one of the…

By Alicia Underlee Nelsonalicia@hpr1.comCreative Moorhead is injecting new life into Moorhead’s art scene and revitalizing its downtown spaces. Artistic or handy people with a connection to the city are encouraged to connect with…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comDrag shows, for me, feel like a celebration of artistry, esthetic, music, and camaraderie. With a dash of confetti thrown in.The local drag community is a close-knit family. Giving back to affiliated…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comSpring is here (mostly), and our area is buzzing with people eager to get back out and about -- many newly vaccinated and feeling a bit safer. Partnering with Jade Events, Fargo Brewing is just…

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

By Theresa L. Goodrichsubmit@hpr1.comIt was day ten of our epic southwest road trip and we’d made it to Arizona. After camping in Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, and New Mexico, we were exhausted, but fortunately our night in…

by Annie Prafckesubmit@hpr1.com17 June 2021On June 19th, from 12pm to 7pm, nonprofit Faith4Hope Scholarship Fund is hosting their first ever Juneteenth Freedom Celebration at Lindenwood Park in Fargo. It is free and open to the…