I have a few strong beliefs about Indiana sweet corn:
1. Indiana Sweet Corn is the Great Equalizer
Horace Mann said that education is the great equalizer. However, on a muggy summer evening in northern Indiana, when the fireflies light up the sky and the crickets start to play their nightly symphony, corn can certainly level the playing field as well.
My love affair with Indiana sweet corn began soon after my love affair with my husband started. We sat down to a wonderful dinner with his family on a hot Indiana night several years back. This was before we were married. I was just getting to know his family. Of course, I was feeling nervous about eating with the right fork, talking at the right time, and passing my food in the right direction.
When the corn got passed to me (from the left), I gingerly selected an ear, and quietly panicked. How am I supposed to eat this thing? No one was passing the corn holders from left to right. Reluctantly, I began to tackle the corn. It took me way too long to peel the husk off, as I was trying painstakingly hard to remove every single fiber. I delicately began nibbling at my corn, being careful not to get any stray kernels on the corner of my lips or between my teeth. Should I floss mid-meal?! I was about to take a knife to start cutting the kernels off the cob, when I finally looked around me.
I saw everyone else eating corn with gusto! Husks were being nonchalantly tossed to the middle of the table, and ear after ear was being devoured with no utensils or apparent concern for dental floss. Everyone was busy eating their corn type-writer style. It seemed that my future father-in-law had especially mastered this technique. He glanced at me for a moment, and smiled. I picked up my corn with two hands, started chomping away, and smiled back with a corn-toothed grin. It was then I learned the power of corn to bring people together.
2. Indiana Sweet Corn Can Be Eaten Raw
Before I tasted Indiana sweet corn, I used to only eat corn when it was slathered with butter and salt, or hidden under a mound of a mayonnaise/cheese/spices to make Mexican street corn. While I still adore the street corn at one of the numerous street fairs in NYC in the summertime, I enjoy eating Indiana sweet corn just as nature made it. If you’ve never eaten raw corn before, I recommend only doing so if the corn is as fresh as possible. We get our Indiana sweet corn from none other than Sweet Corn Charlie’s farm stand:
And a quick quiz, for my fellow city slickers. How many ears of corn grow on a single stalk? (Scroll down to find the answer)
Indiana Sweet Corn Salad
This recipe is from Real Simple magazine
1 cup walnuts
4 cups fresh corn kernels: To cut the kernels off the cob, first cut it in half crosswise. Then, Place one half cut end down on a rimmed baking dish or shallow bowl. The rim will keep the kernels from falling all over the place. Use a sharp knife and cut as much of the kernel off as possible. Avoid cutting too close to the cob, or you will end up with tough pieces.
2 jalapenos, seeded and thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool and roughly chop.
In a large bowl, combine the corn, jalapenos, lime juice, oil, walnuts, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspooon pepper. Sprinkle with feta before serving.
Quiz Answer: One! (sometimes 2)
You can enjoy this corn salad with some beer can chicken. These lovely ladies are organic Amish chicken from northern Indiana.