'Tis the season for the corn fundraisers. Many groups in our county have been selling the big 25-pound bags of corn. It is a great way to stock your freezer with some delicious corn to be able to enjoy for months to come and allows you to support local youths.
When you purchase a big bag of corn, what should you do with it? Of course, you will want to enjoy some of it right away, but that is a lot of corn. For maximum sweetness, enjoy right after harvest. If sweet corn cannot be eaten right away, leave in husks, remove long shanks and store uncovered in the refrigerator for no longer than five days.
If it is necessary to refrigerate for later use, cool rapidly to below 40 degrees to retain sweetness and tenderness, because the sugar in corn turns to starch quickly at higher temperatures. Corn that is the sweetest will keep for about a week in the refrigerator. For longer storage, preserve by freezing, canning or drying.
If you missed purchasing corn for a fundraiser, you can still find fresh corn at the farmers markets. When buying at the market or back of a truck, buy it in the morning. As it sits in the sun, sugar starts to convert to starch, affecting flavor. Hot temperatures will definitely affect the flavor. So buy it on the way home rather than at the beginning of a shopping expedition.
Buy fresh corn when it is locally in season, such as now. Corn begins to lose flavor immediately after being picked. If you have to purchase corn at the supermarket, be sure that the corn is advertised as locally grown.
For best quality, the corn should be in the milk stage, which means the corn is at its sweetest. If a kernel is broken, the white milk should come out of the corn. If there is no liquid, the ear has passed its prime, and the kernels will be doughy.
When purchasing your corn, consider that there are several varieties of sweet corn available. Some, such as super sweet, have more sugar than other varieties and will keep longer in the refrigerator. Corn also come in a variety of colors: white, yellow and the varieties that have both colors of kernels on the same ear. Individual preferences vary; try different varieties to find your favorite.
If you want the freshest sweet corn, look for those with silks that are brown and dry; the tips of the ears should be full. To check the corn, pull back the husks at the end of the ears and make sure the kernels are filled out. High-quality corn has tender kernels that are milky and well developed. Kernels should be large enough to be compact on the cob with no space between the rows. The ear should be filled to the tip with no rows of missing kernels.
If you purchase more than you can use immediately, sweet corn can be preserved for later use by freezing, canning or drying. For best quality, corn should be preserved right after picking.
If you would like more information on food preservation or ways to incorporate vegetables into a healthy diet, contact the Garland County Cooperative Extension Service at 501-623-6841, email email@example.com, or visit http://www.uaex.edu.
(Adapted from the original article written by Carla Due, Miller County Extension agent.)
Grill up some sweet corn on the cob for dinner tonight. It combines fresh sweet corn with savory herbs for that just-right taste:
Sweet corn on the cob
8 ears of corn, silk removed
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup margarine, melted
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon crushed rosemary
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Peel back the husk, leaving it intact at the bottom and remove the silk. Wash the ear well and pull husk back to top. Soak corn in cold water for one to three hours. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine all remaining ingredients. Drain the corn well and pull back husk and pat dry. Spread margarine mixture evenly on all ears of corn. Pull husk back up on the corn, and tie the top of the husks, or twist tightly. Preheat grill for medium heat. Grill for about 20 to 30 minutes, turning frequently. Remove from the grill and check for doneness, if the corn is not done, continue cooking an additional five to 10 minutes. Optional: If you are unsure about cooking with the husks on, place each corncob on a square of aluminum foil. Tightly wrap each ear and puncture to allow excess steam to escape while grilling.
There are several 4-H clubs for our Garland county youths who are 5 to 19 years old. For more information on all the fun 4-H activities that are available, call Linda Bates at the Extension Office on 623-6841 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Master Gardener information
Master Gardener meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month at the Elks Lodge. They're open to the public and guests are welcome. For more information call the Extension Office at 623-6841 or email Alex Dykes at email@example.com.
Are you interested in joining an existing Extension Homemakers Club? EHC is the largest volunteer organization in the state. For information on EHC contact Alison Crane on 623-684 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.Society on 08/12/2019
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