Canadian corn is a highlight of our traditional summer picnics and BBQs, with its intense sweetness in every golden bite. As a major Canadian crop, corn is processed in over 800 foods, including flour and cereal, and the corn we eat is, of course, sweet corn.
Corn begins to lose its sweetness as soon as it is picked. Ideally, choose corn with fresh-looking green (not yellow) husks and moist stems. The kernels should be shiny, full and juicy when pierced. Avoid kernels that look dry and either too small or too large. Cobs with small shiny kernels are sweeter. If you are buying baby corn, look for a creamy white to pale yellow colour. To test corn, poke the kernels on the end with your nail. This should release milky white sap if the corn is fresh. Unripe corn has a watery liquid, whereas overripe corn has tough kernels and is doughy inside.
Keeping corn cold helps to preserve its sweetness, so refrigerate it as soon as possible. Keep the husks on until you are ready to cook it. Once husks are removed, corn should be stored in damp paper towels in the fridge for up to two days.
Corn is a sweet, starchy vegetable that contains about 70 calories per half cup or small cob. It's a good source of fibre, vitamin A and folate. Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants in corn that may help to reduce age-related macular degeneration resulting in loss of vision. Corn can cause allergic reactions in sensitive people and can also be hard to digest, so hold off on corn when introducing food into a baby's diet.
For best flavour and nutrition, cook corn as soon as possible after picking or buying. Try corn on the BBQ or grill for variety. Steamed or boiled corn are old favourites, but add sugar instead of salt to the water because salt toughens up the kernels.
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