Did you know?
Sweet corn can be yellow, white, or bicolored (yellow and white). Although some people prefer one to the other, the color of the kernels has no relationship to sweetness of the corn.
Summer cookouts would not be quite so sweet without sweet corn! Corn, Zea mays, originated from the teosinte plant and grows on ears of tall stalky plants, each ear packed with juicy kernels. Standard sweet corn varieties contain a “sugary gene” that is responsible for the sweetness and creamy texture of the kernels. Sweet corn is best suited to being picked, husked, and eaten within a very short time, which is why locally grown varieties not only tend to be incredibly affordable, but also taste the best!
Colorado is well known for producing some of the best sweet corn in the United States. Our unique growing climate and soil types combined with innovative farming practices ensure consistent quality and superior taste. State growers produce more than 133 million pounds annually. In addition, the Colorado sweet corn seed production industry uses the latest in plant breeding technology to keep local farmers in the forefront of the industry. Harvest and shipping of Colorado sweet corn is typically mid-July through mid-October.
Growing Sweet Corn in Colorado
Corn requires warm air and soil temperatures to germinate and grow properly, and should be planted when soil temperatures are at least 50° F. Super sweet varieties need even warmer soil temperatures, sometimes closer to 60° F. To maximize planting space in your backyard garden, try your hand at the ‘Three Sisters’ technique: grow sweet corn, pole beans and squash in the same bed. The pole beans grow up the corn stalks, and the squash grow in the ground space below the corn and beans.
- Choose sweet corn with husks that are tightly folded and green, and tassels that are brown and sticky.
- Tassels will dry and darken with age
- Feel each ear gently through the husk without peeling it to check for even, plump kernels.
The quality of fresh corn simply makes it the best! Storing sweet corn degrades quality. After only a few hours at room temperature, sugars can turn to starch, causing loss of flavor and overall sweetness. If you must store sweet corn, use perforated plastic bags and refrigerate as soon as possible. Try to use the corn within 1 to 2 days and do not husk until just prior to cooking.
Enjoy sweet corn beyond summer by freezing, canning, or drying
In addition to being sodium-free, low in fat, and a source of vitamin A and C, corn also provides fiber, 2.9 grams of fiber per cup, which is 10% of the daily recommended intake. Some of the pleasure that comes from eating corn on the cob or a bowl of pop-corn comes from the satisfaction of feeling full because corn fiber promotes satiety and helps to keep the intestinal track running smoothly. Recent research has also shown that consuming corn supports the growth of friendly bacteria in our large intestine.
Corn can be prepared in a number of ways, depending on time and preference:
- To boil: Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add corn, cover, and cook 5 to 7 minutes. Drain well before serving.
- To microwave: Place 2 to 3 ears of corn in a microwave-safe dish with 2 tablespoons of water and cover. Microwave on high 4 – 6 minutes.
- To eat raw: Cut kernels off of cob and add to salads and side dishes. To remove the corn kernels, place the ear of corn on a cutting board, stem side down. Hold the top of the corn firmly and with a sharp knife, cut kernels from the cob away from your hand and onto the board.
Elotes (Grilled Mexican Corn)
- 4 ears shucked sweet corn
- 4 T plain yogurt
- 4 T light mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup cojita or Parmesan cheese
- chili powder, to taste
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- Grill sweet corn, rotating occasionally until cooked through with grill marks.
- Mix yogurt and mayonnaise, spread evenly over grilled corn.
- Sprinkle cheese and chili powder evenly over each ear, then top with cilantro.
- Serve with lime wedges and enjoy!