Sep 29

Fresh Sweet Corn

Another summertime favorite is fresh sweet corn. When I say fresh, I mean the corn must be harvested the day you choose to eat it, preferably within hours of eating. Corn is high in natural sugar. The moment the corn is cut from the stalk these sugars begin to turn to starch. Within a day, much of the sugar has turned to starch and at the end of two days, literally all of the sugars turn to starch and now that corn is tougher and less tasty. Much like a fresh tomato, the flavor of a freshly picked ear of corn from a home garden or local farm is unmatched by anything you may find in a supermarket. The very best sweet corn varieties have an extra long growing season until maturity. Usually between 100 and 120 days to harvest. This means that sweet corn for the table is harvested in September and even into October on years when the weather is cooperative.

This last weekend in September, the local farm down the road from me had freshly harvested sweet corn 13 ears for $5. It is a good price, but I told them I could not eat that many ears! They insisted that I take 7 ears for $2.50 and I did not argue, even though it is more corn that I can consume in one meal.

The proper way to cook sweet corn is as follows;

Fill a large stock pot with cold water and set to boil. Do not salt the water.

While the water is coming up to the boiling point, shuck the corn. Shucking corn

When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the corn and cover to bring the water back up to boil. Set the timer for 7 minutes.

A rolling boil


Immediately remove the corn from the pot and season with salt and copious amounts of butter. Eat the corn while it is piping hot.

Butter it while it is hot!

The season for fresh sweet corn is short. Enjoy it while you can!

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    • Julia on October 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm
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    Delicious food and healthy life!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Julia.
      Next year while you are completing your visiting scholar program at Penn State, you can come to visit and I will share some food from my garden.

        • Julia on October 14, 2013 at 2:25 am
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        Looking forward to visiting you and your garden.

        1. I am looking forward to seeing you and sharing.

    • Lara He on March 26, 2014 at 9:20 am
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    In my childhood, each summar school holiday, I ate boiled coin almost everyday as snack after lunch or dinner. My mom bought the fresh coin in the morning, 4 ears 1CNY as I remembered. My home is near the countryside, the fruits & vegitables are cheap and fresh. She told me that the corn has coarse fiber and is healthy food. The sweety taste still existed in my memory. When I left home, I can’t find that taste anymore. Maybe the taste in my memory is hot summer holiday, MoM’s chatter and home where I grow up.

    1. It is nice to have memories. Some of our strongest memories are often related to food and family.
      Fresh sweet corn is wonderful when eaten soon after it is picked! It is one of those foods I like to eat for a few short weeks late in summer.

    • David Wang on August 9, 2014 at 2:01 am
    • Reply

    Wow, the corn looks so delicious ,just like the taste which come from my childhood.I’m very like your fruitful and beautiful garden.I hope ,one day,I will have one which just a small ,and I can plant something in it,just like you are doing in your garden.But my english is very poor so I hope you can help me in the near future.

    1. Thanks, David.
      I look forward to improving your language skills.

    • Maggie on May 15, 2015 at 4:22 am
    • Reply

    This is an old article written in 2013. But to me, it is as fresh as the pipping hot corns in the pictures. The corns are so tasty that my mouth could’t help watering when I look at them. I cooked the same way as you did except seasoning them with salt and butter. What will it be like with salt and butter ? You catch my curiosity. I will be sure to try next time.
    This is a very good short article. I love it very much. Hope to see more in the future.

    1. Glad you like the “mouth-watering” pictures, Maggie.

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