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The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Add Some Charisma to Your Corn!

Add Some Charisma to Your Corn!

Who doesn’t think about summer without firm, sweet, iconic American corn on the cob! Wrapped in foil and roasted on the grill with butter and herbs, or toasted to plump perfection over an open campfire, a day at the beach or park isn’t quite the same without it. But did you know the common corn we all know and love can be used to pique our palettes in many sweet and savory dishes?

Domesticated and grown since prehistoric times by natives of Mesoamerica (the region from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica), corn was also reportedly discovered in Cuban fields in 1492 by none other than Christopher Columbus.

Its growing methods and culinary applications shared by Indians and pilgrims at Plimoth Plantation, Indian corn was different from the sweet yellow corn that we eat today. With red, black, yellow, and white kernel coloration on the same ear, corn was not eaten fresh from the cob. Rather it was dried and pounded into flour and cornmeal for cooking and baking, and said to be part of almost every meal in the Colony.

Today, 332 metric tons of corn are reportedly grown and processed in the United States alone on an annual basis. In short, corn is the most widely grown grain crop in the Americas, found in everything from cereals to animal feed to syrups.

But what about traditional corn on the cob, corn chowder, creamed corn or even hot, buttery popcorn? Delicious as they are, culinary ideas for this prolific grain don’t have to stop there. With a little imagination, it’s easy to energize this ubiquitous summer vegetable by using it in all seasons (think: upcoming holidays!) and in all kinds of ways such as homemade puddings, relishes, cornmeal breading for fish, crunchy chips, soups, homemade caramel corn, pancakes, breads, muffins, and more. Try these fast, easy recipes any time of the year for creative corn dishes that will delight family and friends.

Corn Pudding

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3 cups fresh corn
1 3/4 cups milk
3 eggs, beaten until frothy

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in sauce pan; blend in flour, salt, and sugar. Stir until smooth (do not brown). Add milk and cook until thick. Stir in corn. Add eggs. Pour into buttered shallow 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Set in pan containing 1 inch of water and bake until just set–about 45 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.

Corn Relish

Ingredients:
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped tomatoes
2 cups chopped seeded cucumber
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 cup sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Directions:
In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 20 -30 minutes or until thickened. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Corn Pancakes
Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 ears corn
3/4 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Pure maple syrup, or salsa and sour cream

Directions:
Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.
Cut enough kernels from cobs to measure 2 cups. Using back of a knife, scrape pulp from cobs and transfer to a blender with milk and 1/2 cup corn. Purée until smooth, then strain through a sieve into another medium bowl, pressing on and then discarding solids. Whisk in eggs, oil, and butter. Add to flour mixture with remaining 1 1/2 cups corn and whisk until just combined.

Heat a griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat until hot, then lightly brush with oil. Working in batches, pour 1/3 cup batter per pancake onto griddle and cook until bubbles appear on surface and undersides are golden-brown, about 2 minutes. Flip with a spatula and cook until undersides are golden-brown, about 1 minute more. (Reduce heat if pancakes brown too quickly.) Lightly oil griddle between batches if necessary. Serve with either warm maple syrup for breakfast or salsa and sour cream for lunch or dinner. Corn pancakes are also great as a wrap for fillings like cold chicken salad.

Homemade Caramel Corn
Ingredients:
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 quarts popped popcorn
Directions:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place popcorn in very large bowl. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.

Place in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for one hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces.

9 comments

1 Poopsey Marie { 07.28.12 at 11:49 pm }

My grandmother made fresh corn relish every year and although this is not the same recipe, it is very similar. Since this recipe contains vinegar, it may be canned with the water bath method of canning. This recipe looks like it will only make 2-3 pints, so it could easily be increased to make a larger batch.
Basic instructions:
Seal in hot, sterilized canning jars.
Process for 15 minutes in a boiling-water canning bath or 20 minutes for altitudes of 1001 to 6,000 feet. Over 6,000 feet, process for 25 minutes. NOTE:The following information was taken from this link: http://southernfood.about.com/od/picklesrelishes/r/bl90718a.htm

2 Beverly { 07.25.12 at 6:50 pm }

Corn Pudding is awesome. Try chopping some onions and jalepeno peppers and adding for a little kick!

3 patsy { 07.25.12 at 4:53 pm }

when it the time to plant for fall in south west in fl.

4 Priscilla { 07.25.12 at 12:59 pm }

Jane, it was the corn relish recipe that Linda asked about. Betty cucumbers done freeze well, they turn to mush so to speak.

5 Linda B. { 07.25.12 at 12:54 pm }

Thanks all – I will google that and see what I come up with – came up with bread and butter zucchini pickles that are the best I have ever tasted – just messing around on the net!! So again, thanks – going out back and pick some corn and make some corn pudding with this recipe!!

6 Betty E { 07.25.12 at 11:23 am }

would it work to freeze it? try a bit and see what turns out.

7 Jane Hanlon { 07.25.12 at 10:33 am }

Priscilla, which recipe are you refering to? And, Linda, try googling that, I’m sure someone has tried it. Google about canning corn relish. Rachael Ray’s site or Alton Brown’s site or Food Network in general may have that answer. Have you all seen pictures of the drought where it’s so hot it’s popping the corn in the fields right on the cob? Interesting.

8 Priscilla { 07.25.12 at 9:40 am }

Corn has to be pressure processed and NOT water bathed( I know, I tried, it didn’t work). I would suggest making a small batch first to give it a try, some of the ingredients (cucumbers) are too different and won’t do good pressured.

9 Linda B. { 07.25.12 at 9:06 am }

Could the corn relish be increased in magnitude and put in jars and put through a water bath canner? Does anyone think so? Sounds good and I would like to have it around next winter! Thanks.

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