Sweetcorn is a variety of maize with a higher sugar content. Unlike field corn varieties, which are harvested when the kernels are dry and mature and used for grain, sweetcorn is picked when immature and prepared and eaten as a vegetable.
At Copas Farms we grow three varieties of sweetcorn (early, mid and late season) in one planting to lengthen the picking period. We then duplicate this planting to extend the season further. The corn grows to about 7-10 feet in height and each plant bears between two and six long husked ears filled with rows of tooth-shaped seeds surrounding a woody core – the cob.
VARIETIES GROWN AT COPAS FARMS PICK YOUR OWN:
- Early Variety: Earlibird
- Mid Season Variety: Lark
- Late Season Variety: Wagtail
PICKING AND STORING
- Children must be supervised.
- The corn is ready to pick when the tassels are dark and shrivelled.
- Peel back to check kernels for size. Hold cob and bend down to snap from plant.
- Keep cool with husks still on cob until ready to use. Can be eaten raw, but generally best to cook before eating.
- Suitable for freezing.
Sweetcorn is a source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is also low in fat and contains no cholesterol.
A-MAIZE-ING SWEETCORN FACTS
- Petrified corn cobs that are over 5000 years old have been found in ancient Indian villages in the Western hemisphere.
- Before Christopher Columbus’s voyage to North America, corn was grown only by the Indians of North, Central and South America. Indeed it was the Indians of North America who helped save settlers from starvation during their first winter in America by providing them with corn to eat. They also shared their methods of preparing corn, which included corn bread, corn pudding, corn soup and fried corn cakes. Corn was so valuable in the days of the early settlers that it was used as money and traded for meat and furs.
- Corn is completely domesticated and it cannot exist as a wild plant.
- There are about 800 kernels in 16 rows on each cob of corn.
- The corn cob is actually part of the corn plant’s flower.
- Not unsurprisingly, corn is America’s number one field crop. Corn leads all other crops in value and volume of production
COOKING AND EATING
When ripe, sweetcorn kernels are at their most sweet and juicy and they are best cooked simply with just a little butter.
To prepare, pull back the outer leaves of the cob to expose the lovely milky kernels. Strip off any silky threads that are still clinging to the cob and cut off the ends of the cob. You can either leave the husk attached or cut them off depending on how you plan to cook it. Wash before use.
You can either serve the cob whole, or in chunks, but if you prefer the latter it is best to slice them up after they are cooked when the central core will be less tough.
If you want to cook the kernels loose, rather than on the cob, carefully sweep a sharp knife down the length of the cob slicing off the kernels as you go. Try to keep the blade as close to the core as possible so that the kernels stay whole.
You can roast or barbecue the cobs (husks off, in foil 8-10 minutes or husks on, no foil for 8-15 minutes, husks off, no foil 5-7 minutes). Turn the cobs during cooking. Alternatively you can boil the cobs (3-6 minutes) but it is best not to add salt as this can cause them to toughen. If cooking the loose kernels you only need to boil them for 2-3 minutes.