About this time each year in the lower south comes one of my favorite seasons, the harvesting of the sweet Silver King corn from the fields in Baldwin county, Loxley AL to be exact. Now I've already told you the varying types of sweet corn and what to look for in finding the sweetest. And I've mentioned before the importance of picking corn early in the morning before the sun gets too high, keeping it cold on ice as you transport it home, all in the sake of retaining the sweetness and the just picked flavor. But I'll say this one more time - it is very important to get on with however you plan on its storage before the sugars turn to starch. Otherwise, you might as well settle for the taste of what we call field corn being full of starch, which is okay to eat but as my granddaddy put it, is better leaving behind for the deer and turkeys.
How to keep fresh corn tasting fresh:
Now if you are planning on cooking the corn the same day as harvest, just keep it cold.
|silver king corn|
Microwave Cooking: One of the tastiest and the easiest methods of cooking corn on the cob is in the microwave. Clean the corn removing the husks and tassels and wrap each ear separately in microwavable plastic wrap. Place not more that 3 ears at a time in the microwave and cook on high for about 2 minutes, just enough time to heat up the cob and cook the kernels. It doesn't take long at all and by this method, you get what I think is the crispiest, freshest tasting corn on the cob. I like to add salt, pepper, seasonings before I wrap it but I let it swim in butter after cooking it.
Blanching for Freezing: Remove the husks and tassels, trim the ends and blanch in boiling water for desired time or you can steam the ears but this method takes about twice as long to cook. Rule of thumb for blanching corn is 7 minutes for small ears, 9 for medium and 11 for large. Immediately plunge the ears into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and to cool the cobs completely down. For corn on the cob: Place desired amount in a freezer bag, remove as much air and place in freezer. For cut corn storage: Blanch the ears for 4 minutes, allow the ears to cool down and remove the kernels with a sharp knife getting as close to the cob as possible being careful not to remove any of the cob. Place in desired serving size freezer bags and into the freezer. Or if you desire cream style corn, slice fresh unblanched corn from the kernels about half way through each kernel removing only the tops, then slice down a second time closer to the cob, again not into the cob and use the back side of the knife to scrape down each cob to release any remaining milk from the corn. Add about 1/2 pint of water for each pint of corn. Cook over medium high heat bringing corn to a boil and cook for 4 minutes. Let corn completely cool, place into freezer bags and into the freezer.
Note: Some folks add a little melted butter to coat the kernels before freezing with the thinking it not only protects the corn but will be ready to cook. Also, frozen corn should be eaten up within a year, that is if it last that long.
Now, here is what I did with some of today's pickings. Enjoy!
Fresh Corn and Tomato Pie
make one dish for 8-10 servings or 2 pies with 4 generous servings
2 large firm tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/4 cup butter, melted
|2 of 2 pies|
4 ears fresh corn
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
2 green scallions, chopped
2 slices cooked bacon, diced -optional
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Lay sliced tomatoes on paper towels, I use a baking pan, and lightly sprinkle with salt to draw out moisture. Let set for 1 hour. Then, lay paper towels over the top to soak of the moisture.
In a bowl, combine the butter with the cracker crumbs, set aside.
Cut the kernels from the cobs into a large bowl and scrape down the cobs to remove any milk. Add the bell pepper, scallions, bacon, mayo, basil, celery salt, pepper, creole seasoning and about 2/3 of the crumb mixture. Combine well.
Butter the bottom and sides of a 1 1/2 quart round casserole dish. Spread 1/3 of the corn mixture on the bottom followed with a layer of 1/3 of the tomatoes. Repeat two more times ending with tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with remaining cracker crumbs and the cheese.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until bubbly and topping is light brown.
Notes: I also like to divide this recipe into 2 pie plates with just one layer of each corn and tomato, one for us and one to give away. Also, some folks make a similar pie in a crust which is good too, but I find this way, with the crumbs mixed in to be easy and great tasting. I also mix in some Panko at times too.