I wonder if the Incas looked forward to corn season as much as I do. Though it didn’t look or taste like the corn we eat today, corn has been cultivated since at least 3500 BC. Mexican farmers grew corn as a crop about 5,000 years ago.
We are in the sweet spot of corn season, which means those ears taste best and cost less. When you buy it, the husk should be bright green and snug to the ear. The silk should be dry, not soggy or moldy. Kernels should be rounded and plump, not shriveled or sunken.
The sugars in corn convert quickly to starch after harvest. The sooner you eat it after it’s picked is best, though it can be refrigerated for a day or two. The husks keep moisture in; so don’t shuck them until just before cooking.
Boiling corn may be the way you learned to cook it, but boiling robs vegetables of their nutrients. Steaming, grilling or microwaving are the best ways to cook corn to preserve the vitamins and minerals. Corn cooked in its husk retains the most nutrients of all. The color matters too. Deep yellow corn has more beta-carotene than white corn.
Judy Barbe is a registered dietitian, speaker and author of “Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest: Simple Solutions for Fresh Food & Well-Being.” Visit her website www.LiveBest.info for every day food solutions.