We are in the middle of the season of what is also called Indian corn. Do you know this food that is found on the tables of all families in Quebec from July to August?
Corn contains two antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin. These would be relevant to the prevention of heart disease and certain types of cancer, in addition to helping to prevent macular degeneration (the main cause of blindness in the elderly).
Corn is also a source of phosphorus, magnesium, copper, vitamin C and B-complex vitamins, including vitamin B1 which helps the body efficiently use carbohydrates, the main source of energy. Finger-licking good!
Specialities of corn
Quebec produces about fifty varieties of sweet corn or sweet corn.
The term corn comes from the Spanish maíz, itself borrowed from the Taínos of Haiti who cultivated it. Many other vernacular names have been given to this cereal, such as Indian wheat, Turkish wheat and Barbary wheat.
The varieties of maize have evolved through crossbreeding and according to the varied conditions to which maize has had to adapt in different regions, in addition to themass selection carried out by farmers. The latter stems from the fact that producers harvested their favorite ears to replant them the following year. Thus, specific maize populations for each region were created in this way. For example, in the Pyrenees, completely different corns emerged from one valley to another, diversifying into 270 populations recognized as typically French.
Buying and Storing Corn
- Quebec corn is available on our stalls from the end of June for very early varieties. However, in general, it will be found on our stalls from mid-July to October.
- Some producers also offer consumers to pick them themselves.
- When buying, we choose corn on the cob with swollen and smooth kernels, pale and moist silks and if it is still in its leaves, they must be green and very smooth.
- It is recommended to buy corn as fresh as possible, preferably directly from the producer or at the market, and to consume it immediately. Corn quickly loses its flavor and nutritional value.
- However, it can be stored for up to two days in the refrigerator, ideally in its leaves.
- For freezing, it is first necessary to cook the corn. Once cooked, shell the ears and arrange the grains on a plate that you will put in the freezer. Freeze the grains for about 1 hour then slide them into an airtight container. You can use them intaking only the amount you want!
Tips for cooking corn
- Adding corn husks to the cooking water helps the corn retain its flavor better.
- Corn can be cooked in its leaves, in the oven or roasted on the BBQ.
- Besides the traditional butter, you can season it with a drizzle of oil and lemon, along with s alt, pepper and herbs. Thyme, paprika, chives, lemon balm, lime and chervil go well with it.
- Do you have any raw corn cobs left? Place your ear vertically and cut the grains with a knife so that they come off. Cook them with milk, diced potatoes, sliced onions and chopped parsley to make delicious soups or chowders. You can do the same with cooked corn: just add it at the end of cooking.
- Prepare a Native American sagamité: Cook the grains with game, poultry and fish, as well as vegetables (carrots, cabbage, turnip, onion), then thicken with flour.
- Try a Native American succotash: cook the grains with lima beans, onion, and season with s alt and sugar. Some substitute lima beans for peas or snap beans cut into rings.