Photos by Pattie Garrett
Did you know that sweet corn is a vegetable, a grain, and a fruit?
According to ActiveChefs, a Canadian not-for-profit organization, the seeds of a cob of corn fit the definition of vegetable because the product is harvested for eating. Corn qualifies as a grain because it is grown from a dry seed of a grass species, and its botanical definition makes it a fruit. Regardless, however, of what it is called, corn serves as a carbohydrate similar to peas and lima beans.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at corn.
It’s in season now and available from several vendors at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. As a relatively short-season crop, corn comes with many delights and multiple myths as to how best to enjoy it. Some say it can be eaten raw, straight off the cob. Others advocate removing the cobs from their green husks and letting them cook in boiling water for five to eight minutes, or cooking it in a microwave oven for three to five minutes. Still others eschew the pot of boiling water and insist that the only way to enjoy upstate New York’s sweetest corn is to toss it on a grill husks and all for several minutes.
ActiveChefs, whose mission is to promote fresh and healthy eating among children, advocates all of these approaches. The point is savoring the sweetness before the sugars within each kernel start to turn starchy.
Which, of course, brings up another corn tale. Is it really best to get your pot of water boiling and then race out to the garden (or farmers’ market) to grab your corn? Well, according the website GardeningKnowHow.com, the timing is not that critical. Corn doesn’t lose its flavor quite that quickly. However, the sugars do start converting to starches as soon as the cobs are picked so if you buy it at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market on Wednesday afternoon or Saturday morning, it will taste best eaten on those respective nights for dinner. It can keep up to a week, if refrigerated, and it can be frozen either on the cob or off, for later consumption.
Summer Market Salad
• 2 ears of fresh corn
• 2 cups cherry tomatoes
• 1 ripe avocado
• 1 cucumber, peeled, sliced in quarters
• 1 cup chopped fresh basil
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
• 1 shallot, peeled and minced
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 6 Tablespoons olive oil
1. Shuck the corn and remove it from the cob.
2. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half.
3. Peel the avocado, remove the pit and dice into small pieces.
4. Slice the cucumbers into quarters.
5. Combine the corn, tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers, and basil into serving bowl and season with pepper.
6. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, shallots, salt and olive oil.
7. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and gently mix together.Nutrition Information
Calories: 200 Fat: 18 g Saturated fat: 2 g Carbohydrates: 11 g Sodium: 436 mg Fiber: 3 g Protein: 2 g Cholesterol: 0