Thursday, 27 September 2012

Sweetcorn-pick it fresh and cook it fast!

unripe on the left, ripe on the right
Last week I had my first home grown corn-on-the-cob. I knew from talking to other growers that the most essential thing is to cook it as quickly as possible after picking as the sweetness runs to starch very quickly in corn after harvesting. Going online to American websites it became very obvious that cooking sweetcorn is something the Yanks take very seriously, and more surprisingly they cook it in plain water, no salt added, as salt just toughens the corn kernels. They also give it a very short fast cook, bringing the pan of water to the boil, dropping in the corn and whipping it out as soon as the water returns to the boil! I gave it a bit longer, timing it for 5 minutes and it was cooked to perfection. Now all I have to do is wait for another ear to ripen so I can run up the garden with it and get it into the pot in record time. Corn is something that must be picked at the moment of absolute ripeness and not left on the plant beyond that as it toughens up dramatically. How do you know if it's ready to be harvested? the "beard" at the end of the cob will be quite ragged and brown, and if you peel back the outer husk at the top of the cob and sink a finger nail into a corn kernal a creamy coloured liquid should come out, if the liquid is clear it needs more time.

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