VEG­ETABLE OF THE MONTH

Sweet­corn, corn or maize came from the Amer­i­can con­ti­nent but is now grown through­out the world.

NZ Grower - - The Final Word -

In grain form, maize is the sta­ple diet for Amer­i­can In­di­ans in Mex­ico, Peru and South­ern North Amer­ica. A sweet ver­sion of maize was devel­oped, re­sult­ing in the name sweet­corn, and it be­came a pop­u­lar fresh veg­etable in the 1960s.

Sev­eral va­ri­eties are avail­able; some with white ker­nels and oth­ers with a mix of yel­low and white ker­nels. Va­ri­eties dif­fer in sweet­ness, and re­cently su­per-sweet va­ri­eties have be­come avail­able.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR Choose sweet­corn with fresh green husks and soft yel­low to light brown tas­sels - the darker the tas­sels, the riper the sweet­corn. The ker­nels should be plump, pale and tightly ar­ranged. They darken as the sweet­corn ma­tures. Va­ri­eties vary in sweet­ness and colour – yel­low and white and some­times bi-coloured. There is no con­sis­tent re­la­tion­ship be­tween colour and sweet­ness, but the darker the colour the greater pres­ence of carotenoids.

AVAIL­ABIL­ITY De­cem­ber to April.

STORE Re­frig­er­ate in plas­tic bags and use as soon as pos­si­ble.

HOW TO PRE­PARE Re­move the husk and tas­sels, trim ends, cut as re­quired. To boil place the cob in boil­ing wa­ter and by the time the wa­ter has re­turned to boil­ing the corn will be cooked. Over­cook­ing makes the corn ker­nels tough. To grill wrap corn in alu­minium foil af­ter blanch and re­fresh­ing first. To bar­be­cue leave the husk on. To mi­crowave leave the husk on, and de­pend­ing on the mi­crowave’s power, each cob will take two to three min­utes on high power. Cool be­fore re­mov­ing the husk and tas­sels. Care­fully re­move ker­nels from a raw or cooked cob, us­ing a sharp knife, and use in sal­ads and other savoury dishes.

WAYS TO EAT Eat cooked on the cob or stir fry ker­nels with a lit­tle oil. Use ker­nels in corn frit­ters or add to sal­ads.

COOK­ING METH­ODS Boil, steam, mi­crowave, grill or stir fry (ker­nels).

NUTRI­TION Sweet­corn is a good source of car­bo­hy­drate and con­tains a range of nu­tri­ents, es­pe­cially B group vi­ta­mins. It is a source of vi­ta­min C, niacin, thi­amine and fo­late and con­tains di­etary fi­bre plus a di­etary sig­nif­i­cant amount of potas­sium. Phy­tonu­tri­ents in­clude carotenoids, lutein and zeax­an­thin, which are of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est due to their as­so­ci­a­tion with eye health. Phe­no­lic com­pounds, namely phe­no­lic acid, are also present.

TRY THESE IDEAS;

• Bar­be­cued or char-grilled corn cobs in the husk

• Mini sweet­corn frit­ters as pass-arounds

• Sweet­corn frit­ters or waf­fles for brunch or lunch

• Corn chut­neys and pick­les

• Sweet­corn and chicken soup

• Corn and Thai flavours sim­mered in co­conut milk

• Corn husks used to line muf­fin pans for corn muffins and frit­tatas

• Corn ker­nels and goats cheese grilled on toasted sour dough

• Corn ker­nels with diced red onions, toma­toes and cap­sicums as a salsa

• Corn ker­nels added to corn­bread dough

• Fish or scal­lop chow­der with sweet­corn ker­nels added

• Sweet­corn with diced chilli and lime juice served with char­grilled meats.

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