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THE JOY OF EATING SWEET CORN

In the 1940s, I grew up eating yellow field corn and garden sweet corn. The field corn was picked when it was most tender, boiled, and usually cut off with sugar added. It had a strong corn taste. The garden corn like Golden Bantam (yellow) and Country Gentleman (white) were boiled and eaten off the cob. If there was a large crop, it was cut off the cob to be canned or served to large family gatherings. Later, after we got electricity and freezers, the sweet corn was cut off and frozen. 

    When I started gardening in El Paso in 1985, I began to grow sugar enhanced corn, like Ambrosia, which is 4 times sweeter than regular garden corn and maintains its sweetness a few days longer. Fresh pulled bi-color Ambrosia is my standard of the best balance of sweetness and flavor. Sweet Temptation is a delicious sugar enhanced corn that matures in in the least amount of time. I also grew supersweet shrunken corn which was 10 time sweeter than garden corn. The problem with it was the shrunken kernels had to germinate under ideal temps and moisture, and it had to be isolated from other corns or it would regress to field corn unsweetness. I tried many varieties and colors of corn in the 1990s. My wife and I decided we liked bi-colored corn the best because of its tenderness.

    After 2000, triplesweet corn was developed which was 10 times sweeter than garden corn, germinated well, kept its sweetness for a week after being picked, didn’t have to be isolated from other varieties, and had more corn flavor. Serendipity has become my bi-color triplesweet corn favorite for its vigor and flavor. This year I planted Primus, a triplesweet bi-color with extra sweetness and wonderful corn flavor. While in El Paso, we would visit Juarez, Mexico’s old market. They sold a boiled white field corn there on a stick with butter and chili powder. It had a strong corn flavor that was delicious.

    I plant 3 or 4 varieties of corn in March – April here in Rockport, TX trying to spread out the times of planting so the corn doesn’t all get ripe at the same time. The weather (rain) and fertility of the soil effects the maturity time. My wife fusses when it all gets ripe at the same time. I have a double strand electric fence around the garden, but I don’t dare leave the corn on the stalk very many days after it smells ripe to raccoons and opossums. I have planted corn in June and July, but the worms, and other insects plus the high heat and humidity nearly always ruin the corn.

    We like to put 2 ears of corn with the shuck on it in the microwave for about 3.5 minutes, take it out on the microwave platter, shuck and desilk it under cold running water, and put it on the plate to eat. It will remain hot enough to melt butter for several minutes. Corn boiled in water loses some of it nutrients and flavor. When we have extra corn, we cut it off and freeze it for the times we are with our son and his family. I’m told by my son or wife to take only one helping.

-Herman Green

7/18/2018    Garden Journals