It's a wonderful time of year. The birds are singing, flowers are blooming and the spring and early-summer crops of sweet corn are heading your way.
Crunch, natural sweetness, sunny color, vitamins: fresh sweet corn from Florida has all these assets, making it a favorite with everyone. And there are so many good ways to enjoy the ears piled high in supermarket bins. Steamed, boiled, microwaved, roasted -- and grilled, of course. Eat your fill, and then think about enjoying this fresh bounty in exciting new ways, both on and off the cob. Fresh corn is terrific any time of day -- lunch and dinner, sure, but also in the morning and don't forget snacks.
Start with breakfast or weekend brunch: Sweet Corn Pancakes. Tender corn kernels are cut off the cob and scooped into pancake batter, which gets a second hit of good corn flavor from cornmeal. This is definitely a worth-getting-up-for breakfast, especially when you top the cakes with sweet-spicy syrup made with maple syrup, apricot preserves and a touch of hot red pepper. These corn-flecked pancakes also make an easy and comforting supper - and if the kids object to the hot pepper, just leave it out.
Still thinking outside the corn crib, toss uncooked kernels of fresh corn with black beans, quinoa and a tasty mustard vinaigrette. If you feel like it, add some baby shrimp. This nutrient-packed salad is a full-on main course, perfect for lunch or dinner. Corn is a good source of vitamin C, thiamin and folic acid and also supplies the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. Not familiar with quinoa? Might be a good time to get acquainted, because it's considered a super-grain, supplying all eight essential amino acids.
When it's time for dessert or a snack, fresh corn turns out to be a surprising but very appealing option. Corn on the Cob "Lollipops," from the kitchen of Florida chef Michelle Bernstein, are one irresistible treat to try. The ears are cooked until crisp-tender, then rolled in butter and spiced brown sugar. A way to eat your veggies and your dessert at the same time -- what could be better?
You're probably thinking about where your food comes from, so here are the facts: The delicious corn in season now is grown by farmers in Florida, the leading producers of fresh sweet corn. To preserve freshness, the ears are chilled immediately after harvest, packed within 24 hours and rushed to markets. Once you take the corn home, be sure to refrigerate it. You can count on this traditionally bred corn to stay fresh and sweet for up to a week.
For more ideas on serving sweet fresh corn in unexpected ways, visit the newly relaunched www.sweetfreshcorn.com. And try this great recipe:
Corn on the cob lollipops
4 ears sweet fresh corn each cut in thirds
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
12 lollypop sticks
With the tip of a knife, poke a hole in one end of each piece of corn. In boiling salted water, cook corn for two minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt, red pepper, cinnamon and ginger. Pour melted butter into a pie plate. Drain corn well. Roll each piece in butter; insert a stick into one end; sprinkle with brown sugar mixture.
Courtesy of ARAcontent
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