Saturday, August 23, 2008


I always feel sorry for the saps buying sweet corn at Wal-Mart. I know that not everone is fortunate enough to have an acre of it right outside their back door, but the stuff they sell in the big stores is Nasty. Just about everyone could do better, and with a little education, you'll understand why.
When sweet corn is picked, the sugars in the corn begin the process of converting to starches. This happens to a much smaller degree everyday, on the stalk, as the corn heats in the sun, and reverses during the cool of the night. Which is why every farm wife worth her salt prepares her corn immediately after picking to preserve as much of the sweetness as possible. In moments of desperation, you can leave it in a cool place until the next morning at the latest, but you would never admit that you had done that to your neighbor.
The sweet corn sold in the grocery store was likely picked who-knows-how-many days ago and will be very dry and starchy. Your best bet is always going to be finding a local source, even if it means paying a bit more.
Once you have obtained your corn, then everyone gets involved...
...and canning.
We put up 52 quarts of corn, or 29 dozen ears this year. I also need to say a word about "organics". Most local farmers put in rows of sweet corn on the edge of one of their other fields, right next to the field corn. It is simply easier to fill some of the boxes on the planter with sweet corn and plant it at the same time as the other. Because of this, the only way that sweet corn can claim to be truly organic is if the rest of the field corn is also organic. Chemical drift being very difficult to control and such. So if avoiding pesticides, herbicides and fungicides is important to you, bear this in mind when you are inquiring about the source of your sweet corn.
I'm going to post about the dark side of sweet corn next!


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