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In season late summer: Sweet corn

Buying

To determine whether sweet corn is ripe, gently pull back the husk. Corn kernels will be plump, tightly packed and not wrinkled, and when a kernel is squeezed, if the liquid squeezed out is watery, the corn is unripe. If the liquid is creamy, the corn is ripe. Choose cobs with fresh green husks and fine, silky tassles.

Storing

Corn is best eaten as soon after picking as possible or the sweetness will be lost (the sugars in corn quickly turn to starch). Store corn with husk intact in an airtight container or in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Store for up to three days. To freeze corn cobs, remove husks and lightly blanch the corn, cool then store in freezer bags. To freeze free-flowing kernels simply slice kernels from prepared corn cob then freeze.

Nutrition

The yellow colour of sweet corn indicates high levels of carotenoids. These are antioxidants that help to boost eye health, and promote a strong immune system.

Using

Cook corn out of the husk in unsalted boiling water for five minutes or keep corn cobs intact and barbecue for about 10 minutes. Corn is a star ingredient in Mexican cuisine: add kernels to salsas and guacamole, make spiced chicken and sweet-corn salad, or try a cold salad of corn kernels, quinoa, tomatoes, green capsicums and red kidney beans. Corn fritters make a tasty brunch but for something a little different, try our twist on regular corn fritters: Chilli chicken and corn rosti.

Fact: After wheat and rice, corn is the third most important food crop of the world (in terms of production volume).

First published: Feb 2012



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