14 Jan 2009

Nothing like Corn on the Cob

I tend to ignore the low carb diet gurus, to me there is very little to beat a steamed or BBQ'd fresh ear of corn (or mielie as I like to call it). Sadly if we are unable to plant our own, with 61% of corn in the US alone being genetically modified, we have to be very cautious and should opt for organic corn and corn products.

Corn is native to the Americas and has a history going back over 7000 years. It was a staple food and fuel to the Mayan, Aztec and Inca civilizations and today is a staple food to Mexico, most of Africa and many other countries. There are a host of different varieties and it comes in many colors, such as white, yellow, red, blue, pink and black.

It is nutritious and is a very good source of folate (folic acid), dietary fiber, thiamin (B1), pantothenic acid (B5), vitamin C, phosphorus and manganese, with traces of iron, calcium and selenium. Yellow corn is more nutritious than white corn and is a good source of vitamin A. Corn only lacks two of the essential amino acids, lysine and tryptophan plus riboflavin and niacin, these can be supplied by beans*. Darker varieties of corn contain antioxidants and have a lower glycemic index.

*Native Americans had an amazing system of farming called the Three Sisters where corn, beans and squash complimented each other both in growing and eating. The corn supported the beans, the beans provided the soil with nitrogen which corn requires a lot of and squash leaves shaded the soil, keeping it moist and preventing weeds growing. Together they created a well rounded meal, the corn suppling carbohydrates and amino acids, the beans giving protein and aminos that the corn lacks and the squash vitamin A and fatty acids lacking in beans and corn. Another example of where wisdom of the Ancients came in to play, truly amazing!

Some of the health benefits of the corn. The fiber aids digestion, the combination of the fiber and folate is excellent for heart health, the thiamin for maintaining a good memory, and the pantothenic acid to both support the adrenal glands and for carbohydrate and protein lipid metabolism. Studies have shown that corn bran, when available, is an excellent heart protector by reducing triglycerides and reducing cholesterol.

When purchasing fresh corn or sweet corn on the cob, as mentioned before, check that it is organic and also see that it has been stored in a cool area as heat quickly converts the sugars in it to starch. Check that the kernels are plump and if juicy they should emit a milky white substance when one of the kernels is pressed hard. Try to eat on day of purchase. Corn freezes well so frozen, organic corn is also a good option. Tinned whole kernel and cream style corn is always a useful back up pantry item. If you have excess corn you can freeze it yourself by blanching the ears for a few minutes and then either freezing whole or freezing the kernels. They will keep for around 3 months in the freezer.

So why not find a nice sunny spot in your garden this Spring and grow your own corn or even try it the Three Sisters way, you are sure to be pleasantly surprised with the results ?


Corn Chowder 1 (Raw)
From Jolinda Hackett, Vegetarian at

2 ears fresh corn
2 cups almond milk
dash cayenne pepper

This is an easy recipe for a sweet raw foods soup. In a blender, blend together corn from one ear and the almond milk. Add the remaining corn and a dash of cayenne. Refrigerate if desired to allow flavors to mingle. 1 to 2 servings

Corn Chowder (Cooked)
From Diabetes_Recipes.pdf

1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 medium potato, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1 15oz / 430g / 1-3/4 cups bag frozen corn
1 1/2 cups vanilla soy or oat milk
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp sea salt
black pepper, to taste

Place onion, carrots, potato, and broth in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Add corn, non-dairy milk, and turmeric and heat until corn is thawed. Transfer the mixture into a blender and process until smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan and season with salt and black pepper. Soup will be a creamy thick consistency. 8 servings.

Grilled Corn with Roasted Garlic Butter
From Vegan-Food

2 large heads of garlic
4 tbsps olive oil
10 tbsps Vegan butter equivalent, room temperature
6 large ears sweet corn, husks removed

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350F/180C. Cut off and discard top quarter of each garlic head. Place garlic in small baking dish. Drizzle with 2 T oil. Cover dish with foil and bake until garlic is tender, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool garlic slightly. Squeeze garlic out of papery skins, letting garlic fall into small bowl. Mash with fork. Stir in butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Roasted garlic butter can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before using. Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Brush corn lightly all over with remaining 2 T oil. Grill corn until brown in spots, turning occasionally, about 12 minutes. Serve hot, passing roasted garlic butter separately. Makes 6 servings.
Notes: Grilling husked corn on the cob produces nicely browned and sweetly caramelized kernels that are absolutely addictive. The garlic butter is a terrific finishing touch.

Bean and Corn Salad
From The Daily Green

3/4lb / 340g / 1-1/2 cups green beans, trimmed
3 tbsps cider vinegar
3 tbsps olive oil
2 tsps Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 can 15oz / 430g / 1-3/4 cups black beans (red or butter beans also work well), rinsed
1 cup cooked fresh corn kernels (or 1/2 10 ounces box frozen corn, thawed)
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

Cook green beans in boiling water until tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain. Combine vinegar, oil, mustard, salt, and pepper in large bowl. Toss in green beans, black beans, corn, and onion. 4 servings.

Sweet Pepper and Corn Stew
From A Vegan Taste of East Africa by Linda Majzlik

24oz / 675g / 3 cups sliced mixed peppers
1 rounded dessert spoon ground cumin
12oz / 350g / 1-1/2 cups skinned and chopped tomatoes
1 tsp turmeric
3 corncobs
2 tbsps groundnut (peanut) oil
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
black pepper
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
5 fl.oz / 150 ml / 1-1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
2 garlic cloves. crushed
finely chopped fresh parsley

Fry the peppers, onion, chilli and garlic in the oil for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Cut the kernels from the corncobs and add to the pan together with the tomatoes, cumin, turmeric and stock. Season with black pepper and stir well, then raise the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes stirring frequently, until cooked and thick. Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.


ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

That raw corn chowder recipe sounds easy and perfect!

Zucchini Breath said...

Very useful tips on buying and storing corn, thanks!

earthmother said...

I fell in love with raw corn on the cob this summer. I live about 10 minutes away from a certified organic farm, so I'd pop over each day as the farmer was bringing in a truck load of just-picked corn. Such a sweet explosion of flavor in your mouth!

Marion said...

I'm with Earthmother...I love just picked raw corn on the cob. The flavour, on that hot sunny day I first had it, was and is, truly amazing. I thought it was better than any fruit.

So I can't wait to try the raw corn chowder recipe when summer rolls around!

aTxVegn said...

I've only recently come to appreciate corn since going gluten free. Grilled corn is very popular in Texas, although it will be several months before the corn harvest.

Hudson said...

I love your veggie meals. It's always such a treat to get new ideas for delicious meals. Mary Jo and Hudson

cherry_lips said...

HEY, I LOVE YOUR BLOG! how can i follow it, i don't see the button

Buddha said...

Just reading your post made me wanting some corn on the cob.
I can't cook but I can boil!
Great post!

Lady Skye Fyre said...

I just love your blogs. Everything you write about is informative, useful stuff we can all be interested in. Thanks.

Sheila said...

Why am I hungry for corn now? My favorite corn recipe is simply to cut the kernels off of the cob, scrape the juices from the ears, add a little water or cream and butter and saute. My mom called it fried corn--very Southern (US) and often a staple on summer menus.

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm, those chowder recipes sound awesome! I love corn chowder... :)

Anonymous said...

Those recipes sound so yummy ... I'm totally in the mood for corn now!

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. :)

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I love corn on the cob and will give this corn chowder recipe a shot. We are all strict vegetarians (almost vegans) so this is right up our alley.

Brian said...

I love corn thanks for the great recipes

Waterrose said...

Oh I love corn on the cob. Growing up in Ohio, during the summer we had it every day. Some days that's all I would eat for lunch... Yum!

Ok, so you live in Africa and you've only seen feral cats? Every-time we see stories of Africa there is always, at least an elephant in the picture... :-)

Chelle said...

Wow, that is so much I never knew about corn before! In the summer we can go to our farmers markets and get it locally grown and delicious...I think I may start getting in September and freezing it to use over the winter.

Great recipes too!

Shinade said...

Oh my I love corn. My favorite is when you roast it on the grill.

I read the other day where an American company has designed a way to also use the cob to convert into fuel.

This hopefully will relieve the shortage and high prices of corn.

Also Obama speaks more about other alternatives for energy instead of Ethanol.

Also there are now many Ethanol plants closing and going bankrupt.

So something is obviously going to have to change.

What a fabulous and interesting article about such a simple vegetable.

Great post Jackie:-)

aZoed said...

oh my luck that I came across your blog... I love every moment of my life as a veggie and hope your recipes would add novelty to the boredom that sets in sometimes. The corn history was really interesting... m in a hostel right now, so can't try out your recipes, but m looking fwd to my mid semester break!

aries33 said...

corn is a good source of carbohydrates that supplies energy and fiber that improves digestion.

alwayswinner786 said...

Great post. I love corn so I will like to give a try your Bean and Corn salad, it is very healthy and nutritive .Thanks for your visit. Your tip for quick pasta sauce is also very helpful.
Thanks again.

mazepa said...

good job.