Corn on the cob is an abundant crop in the Midwest and it is at its peak in the summer months. Corn is a good source of vitamin B1 and Folate as well as Vitamin C and dietary fiber. You can cook corn on the cob in several ways, including grilling, roasting and boiling and cooking brings out the natural sweetness of the corn. But you can also eat raw corn on the cob, and it is every bit as sweet as the cooked variety and retains more of the nutrients.
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On The Cob
Use the freshest, youngest corn possible. If possible, go to a farm where you can pick your own or buy it from a farmer’s market, making sure the corn was picked within hours of sale. Fresher corn has the sweetest flavor and will be more likely to retain its flavor as you transport it home.
Shuck the corn and remove all of the silk. Rinse the corn under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Eat the corn within hours of bringing it home. The longer the corn sits off the stalk, the more the starches break down and the corn takes on a grassy flavor.
Take a bite as you normally would from a cooked cob. You can add condiments, such as olive oil or salt, if you wish but the point of eating raw corn is to enjoy the natural sweetness and crunch.
Off the Cob
Cut or break one end off the cob to make a stable base. Hold the cob up on the flat base and slide the blade of the knife down the length of the cob to remove the kernels. Put the kernels in a bowl.
Eat the raw kernels as is, or make them into a salad or salsa. Combine the corn with diced sweet onion, diced red bell pepper, diced carrot, chopped cilantro or parsley and a pinch of salt for a colorful confetti salad. Combine it with diced jalapeno, onion, tomato, garlic and cilantro for a corn salsa.
Enhance the natural sweetness of the kernels with a white balsamic and olive oil vinaigrette. White balsamic has the same flavor as the darker variety but will not discolor the corn. You can also use lemon or lime juice in place of the vinegar.
Refrigerate any uneaten kernels for up to three days. Once you refrigerate them, however, you may want to cook them because they won’t taste as sweet as when you first cut them.
- Purdue University: National Corn Handbook: "Growing Season Characteristics and Requirements in the Corn Belt"; Ralph E. Neild, et al.
- “Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini: The Essential Reference”; Elizabeth Schneider; 2001