Corn! Fresh-picked, on the cob and still warm from the summer sun, corn can be boiled in a pot of water on the stove, tossed on the barbecue grill, or even zapped in the microwave.
However it’s cooked, slather the ear with butter while its warm from the fire and sprinkle on a little salt, or spread on some mayonnaise and dot with taco seasoning mix for a south-of-the-border corn treat.
Ben Bakker, who was selling corn grown by Tom Kolarik at the Glen Arbor Farmers Market this week, eats his corn raw.
“I would much rather eat it raw,” said Bakker, whose family owns Bakkers Acres in Suttons Bay. “It’s much sweeter and much juicier that way.”
“I like it in season and I hardly ever buy my corn in a store,” Johnson said. “It’s usually at a stand or a farmer’s market. It looks really good, it must have liked the warm weather.”
Kolarik plants his corn at two week intervals, some as late as the first week in July so that he has corn up until late summer and early fall. And this year’s crop is none the worse for wear from the lack of rain, Bakker said. The quantity is down from last year, but not a significant amount, he said.
“It’s very good,” Bakker said. “It’s sweet and juicy. The rain the last little bit helped it swell up.”
Also the athletic director for Leland Public Schools, Kelenske has been growing corn for about five years. This year’s dry spell in July did not produce a bumper crop of corn.
“But it’s doing OK,” Kelenske said. “We got rain when we needed it. It’s not overly huge, but it’s doing as well as could be expected with the amount of rain we got.”
For some, the golden vegetable is proving a little hard to find this year. Cindy Landers is the market master for the Glen Arbor Farmers Market, which she said is in dire need of corn.
“Customers have been asking for it,” Landers said. “They’ve been saying that people who grow corn are having a hard time stocking their stands.”
Last week the farm market had only one vender selling corn. “They sold out very quickly,” she said.
Most fruit and vegetable stands around Leelanau County run on the honor system, with boxes for buyers to put their money in. Has Kelenske ever been ripped off?
“Oh yes,” he said. “More times than I’d like to mention.”
About 98 percent of people are honest, he said.
“And then you’ve got those two-percenters that will take whatever’s in the box if it’s open,” he said.
Here are some suggestions for a perfect meal of corn on the cob. Just add burgers, sliced homegrown tomatoes and a picnic table:
Boiled: Bring a pot of water to boil and toss the ears in for about three to four minutes with the pot covered, taking the corn out as soon as the water begins to boil again. Leaving the corn in the pot for just one or two minutes will leave the kernels a little crisper, which some people may prefer. A little sugar can be added to the boiling water, but never add salt, which will toughen the corn.
Grilled: For a grilled treat, soak the corn while still in the husk in cold water and throw the ears on hot coals for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally until husks are charred all around. Remove from grill and let the ears sit for about five minutes before removing the husks and silk, using a towel to protect your hand.
Nuked: Cook fresh corn in the microwave with the husks on, laying them on a damp paper towel and turning them about halfway through cooking. Cook one to two minutes for one ear, three to four minutes for two ears and eight to nine minutes for six ears. When done, let stand for about five minutes before removing the husks. To heat up leftover corn, pop an ear in the microwave for about 45 seconds, add butter and eat.
Summer Corn Soup with Quinoa
3-4 ears fresh corn, enough to
make 3 cups
2 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 tbsp. minced fresh basil or 1
tsp. dried basil
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 ounce crumbled feta cheese
Optional: 1 tbsp. fresh lime
Chopped parsley for garnish
Boil ears of corn until tender. Use a knife to remove kernels. Scrape down the corn ear with the dull side of the knife to remove the ‘corn cream.’ Set corn and corn cream aside. In a deep pot, heat olive oil. Add onion and garlic. Sauté until softened. Add broth; bring to a boil. Add quinoa; cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes. Add fresh basil, zucchini, corn, corn cream and lime juice, if using. Simmer 8-10 minutes. Serve hot with feta cheese and parsley sprinkled on top.
Source: What’s for Dinner cookbook, produced by the Oryana Natural Foods Market in Traverse City.