Monday, September 24, 2007

End of Corn?

I know many in the know consider corn to be one of the newest evils of American Society. In fact, in case you didn't read Omnivore's Dilemma you can catch the movie King Corn sometime this fall (I hope we will get it here in Pittsburgh; we are not listed on their website) if you want to know more about why I say that.

But that corn they are berating is not sweet corn. Thank goodness. It's one of the only whole foods my daughter eats regularly (the other being honey crisp apples). And, of course, who doesn't love corn on the cob? or off it? (well, my daughter, actually will only eat it on the cob, but what can you do?) So, I understand that we are nearing the end of corn season here in Western PA. Those corn fields will soon be turned into corn mazes for Halloween season farm visits. Several farmers today at the East Liberty Farmer's market mentioned that this was their "last field of corn." I guess each field matures all at once and provides only two to three days of corn cobs for us consumers.

So, if you haven't done so already, now's the time to buy some extra ears to cut the kernels off to freeze for the winter. I got fifteen ears for $4.00 from Farmer King today. Of course you probably know to eat the corn ASAP and leave it in the husk for as long as possible (because the sugars start turning to chewy starch as soon as the corn is picked). When my father used to grow corn, he actually wanted the cooking water to be boiling before the corn could be picked and husked.

The method I've read that is good for freezing is the following: The day you get the corn (see above), boil a big vat of water. Husk the corn. Boil ears for four minutes. Immediately dunk them into an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Remove the ears quickly from that water, too. Remove the kernels using a sharp knife (I use my chef's knife). I've heard some tips to make that easier too. Like place the cob in the center of a bundt pan to hold it stable for kernel removal. Or impale it on a piece of wood with a nail sticking up. Place the kernels in a freezer safe plastic bag or container. Or you could go the extra step of freezing the kernels on a cookie sheet so that they don't stick together as much and then transferring them to a freezer bag within twenty four hours. Use within a year. I got five fairly full quart size bags from eleven ears of corn. Not bad for $4.00 (plus we ate some for dinner).


alienspice said...

Hi Cindy!
I just found your blog on the pgh bloggers site....I'm hooked!
It's great to read stories from other people trying to do the local food thing.
I live in East Lib/Larimer, and do almost all of the shopping for a two adult household at the East Lib farmer's market, the EEFC, and a CSA from Kretschmann. We supplement with infrequent trips out to McGuinness Sisters and John McGuinness (south hills---a hike for sure, but a good source for pastured meats and amish raised chickens, not to mention the Marburger milk!)
Email me if you want more info!

As far as the corn goes....I have to say that I was turned against ALL CORN after reading the Omnivore's Dillema, but a couple ears of something super sweet in our CSA box have turned me back. We've got several large bags of corn frozen too! I definitely recommend the "flash freeze" on the baking tray method. It makes a huge difference.
OK! just wanted to say hi


Cindy Green said...

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