When farmers grow corn, they usually start planting as early as March, depending on where they plant, what type of hybrid they’re growing, and when they want their corn to go to market. They’ve been getting ready for corn season, and so are we! We saw our first sales on corn for Memorial Day. By about midsummer, corn is at the peak of its season, on sale for about 25 cents or less, and it’s just divine.
When you buy in season, select the best ears, and prepare it just right, it will be the sweetest and juiciest corn ever!
Here’s how you can select the best corn:
- Bigger isn’t better. I used to figure that since I was paying per ear, I should find the biggest ones to get my money’s worth. Not so. The biggest ears are often tough and chewy. The smallest ears can have too many undeveloped kernels. A medium sized slender ear is your best bet.
- Go sight unseen. We’ve all seen the big bin next to the corn in the produce section. This is where people toss the shucks. Don’t do that! Leave them in their shucks completely. Don’t even take a peek! Let it be a surprise right before you eat it. Once you shuck them, the corn is drying out, and losing it’s goodness. So, how do you know what you’re getting?…
- Inspect the husk. The husk should be a smooth green color, moist, and laying tight against the ear. If the husks are turning light green, losing color or even drying out and beginning to separate from the ear, what’s inside will be dry and chewy.
- Inspect the tassel. The tassel of silk coming out of the top may not be clean, but it shouldn’t be dark brown or mushy. It should be light in color, even with a little green tint to it. If it’s fresh, the tassel will not be totally limp, but have some body to it. The tips of the tassel will have started to dry. Take a look at how it is while it’s still on the stalk to find your ideal. If you find a tassle that’s all of the above, and sticky to the touch, you’ve probably found an ear that was picked today, and you’re probably at a corn stand by a field. Oh yeah! It doesn’t get better than that!
- Buy a few extra for back up. Given all of the above, back at home, while preparing to serve your corn, you’ll occasionally open up an ear that doesn’t look good inside. So you’ll want to have extra ears to make sure everyone gets one. It’s OK if they’re all good. Go ahead and grill all of them for leftovers.