Look out-the bumper crop of corn has arrived – it’s time to get corny!
Let’s first acknowledge that corn does not receive the respect it deserves. Perhaps this is because it’s a commodity food in the U.S., making it an inexpensive ingredient to use in animal feed as well as sweeteners (i.e. high fructose corn syrup) in many processed foods.
But corn is not only a special summer treat, it also packs in a lot of nutritional zing! An added bonus-corn requires little fuss or preparation, which essentially guarantees you the culinary genius award!
Like all plant foods, corn contains plant compounds called phytonutrients. Phytonutrients protect us from cancer, heart disease, and other diseases of inflammation. Lutein, a phytochemical that promotes eye health, is one of the predominant phytochemicals in corn. Corn is also a good source of insoluble fiber. This is the kind of fiber that acts like your body’s broom by “sweeping out” environment toxins and contaminants we come into contact with every day (pollution, smoke, etc.).
Corn is a starchy vegetable, which means it is nutritionally similar to whole grains in regards to calorie and carbohydrate content. That doesn’t mean that corn is “bad” or “unhealthy”; it just means that filling half of your plate with veggies doesn’t mean fill half of your plate with corn!
Although corn can be enjoyed year round in its canned or frozen state, neither of these versions can compete with fresh corn.
When selecting fresh corn, avoid ears with shriveled husks or those with slimy tassels. Keep the corn in the husk and in your refrigerator until you are ready to use.
Once you are ready to cook, you have several options. You can simply boil in water, roast in the oven, or throw on the grill (my personal favorite). If you choose to grill, peel the husk, wash the cob, break in half, and roll in a little olive oil and a dash of salt before putting on your hot grill. It takes only about 10 minutes for the grill to do its magic-resulting in beautiful grilled marks to contrast the natural sweet taste. If desired, drizzle a small amount of butter and serve as your starchy side dish.
Still up to your ears in corn? Extra corn can be added to salsa or salads, including southwestern style grain salads. If you are lucky enough to get a cool spell in the weather, then another option is summer corn chowder.
Whatever your fancy-ignore the critics-it's time to embrace your corniness!
Feeling stuck in your habits and not sure how to change? Tired of diets that fail?