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Selecting, Storing, and Serving Ohio Sweet Corn

HYG-5516
Family and Consumer Sciences
Date: 
07/19/2021
Revised 2021: Christine Kendle, Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension
Original reviewer: Lydia Medeiros, Ph.D., R.D., Specialist, Ohio State University Extension
Original author: Barbara A. Brahm, Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

Fresh sweet corn has long been an American favorite. In Ohio, the sweet corn season begins about July 1 and continues until the first frost in late September to early October.

For information on corn varieties in Ohio, contact your county educator in agriculture and natural resources at Ohio State University Extension, or a master gardener volunteer.

Selection

  • Top-quality sweet corn ears have fresh green husks and ears well-filled with bright-colored, plump, and milky kernels. Close up of harvested corn that has been partially husked
  • Ears should be free of insect and disease damage.
  • Tassels should be slightly tacky and brown—avoid black or brittle tassels.
  • Husks should still be damp from the field and tightly wrapped around the ear. 
  • Corn is overripe if indentions have formed in the kernels or kernel contents resemble glue.

Yield

Due to many variables such as moisture content, size, and variety, it is difficult to give specific recommendations. The recommendations below are approximations.

  • 1 bushel of unhusked corn = 35 pounds
  • 1 bushel of unhusked corn = approximately 5 dozen ears
  • 1 bushel of unhusked corn = 8–9 quarts or 14–16 pints canned

Nutrition

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 2½ cups of a variety of vegetables each day as part of a healthy diet. Corn is a good choice to help meet this nutritional requirement.

  • Corn is an excellent source of thiamin and a good source of fiber, vitamin C, folate, niacin, phosphorus, and manganese.
  • Corn is low in sodium and fat.
  • One cooked ear (5 inches by 1¾ inches) has 85 calories.
  • 1 cup of sweet corn has 125 calories.

Storage

  • Harvest and store ears promptly to maintain the highest quality.
  • If unable to use immediately, store sweet corn unhusked in the refrigerator and use within two days. 

Serving

  • Wash – Rinse corn thoroughly in cold water to remove dirt. Do not use soap, detergent, or bleach because these liquids absorb into the vegetable. Close up of corn being cooked on the grill.
  • Boil – Submerge corn in unsalted cold water . Salt toughens corn and should not be added to the water. Heat water to boiling. Boil uncovered for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let corn stand about 10 minutes before serving. Season with butter, salt, and pepper if desired.
  • Season – Add basil, cayenne pepper, celery seed, chili powder, or rosemary.
  • Steam – Arrange corn on steaming rack. Place rack in steamer over 1 inch of water. Bring to boil. Cover and steam for 10 minutes or until corn is tender crisp.
  • Grill – Place ears of corn on the grill grate over direct heat and turn frequently to create “grill marks.” Move ears to an indirect heat area of the grill to finish cooking. Season with chili powder, cilantro, lime juice, and cumin. Top with Cotija, Feta, or Parmesan cheese.

Corn and Green Chili Salad

Cilantro, lime juice, and green onions add a delightful taste to this corn side dish. Use in-season, fresh corn when possible.

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups corn (frozen and thawed)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies (10 ounce)
  • ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ⅓ cup green onion (sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro (fresh chopped)

Preparation Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix well.

For information on preserving corn, go to ohioline.osu.edu or contact your local Ohio State University Extension office for the following fact sheets:

References

Colorado State University Extension. n.d. “Colorado Sweet Corn.” FoodSmart Colorado (website). Accessed July 16, 2021, foodsmartcolorado.colostate.edu/food/foods-and-beverages/colorado-produce/colorado-sweet-corn.

FoodData Central. n.d. U.S. Department of Agriculture (website), accessed July 15, 2021. fdc.nal.usda.gov/index.html.

National Center for Home Food Preservation. n.d. University of Georgia, College of Family and Consumer Sciences (website). Accessed July 16, 2021. nchfp.uga.edu.

U.S. Department of Agriculture. n.d. “Corn and Green Chili Salad.” My Plate, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Recipes (website). Accessed July 16, 2021. https://www.myplate.gov/myplate-kitchen/recipes.

Originally posted Jul 19, 2021.
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