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Let Me Bend Your Ear About Corn! Corn Summer Salad

Corn doesn't always deserve the bad reputation it's received. Fresh, organic summer corn is actually pretty awesome. Don't believe us? Try it for yourself!

Not everyone eats corn. Some eschew it due to food allergies and others are convinced it’s nutritionally void and too difficult to digest. Currently, over 90% of U.S. corn is genetically engineered (GE), which is another strike against the starchy vegetable (which, technically is a grain, but that’s another article for another time!).

I’ll be honest with you, most of the year I don’t eat much corn. I don’t think of it being particularly healthful and, unless it’s summertime, the corn available is either frozen, trucked in from far away or just too tough to taste good. But right now—because I live in Iowa, which you could call “corn central”—I am doing my share of shuckin’!

Organic (non-GE) sweet corn is one of summer’s simplest pleasures. A freshly-plucked ear is delicious eaten straight out of its husk; it needs no butter, no salt, no cooking—no kidding! You can also dress corn up, like in this salad mixed with other in-season vegetables including red bell peppers, tomatoes, and cilantro.

The key to enjoying corn is to recognize it for the fleeting delight that it is. Old corn is not good corn, and my best advice is not to buy an ear that was picked more than 24 hours ago. Avoid corn with dry, pale husks and silks. Test corn by piercing a kernel with your fingernail: it should squirt a whitish juice.

If your eyes were bigger than your stomach and you find yourself with leftover ears, place extra corn in your refrigerator as soon as possible. Leave the husks on, and store it uncovered. Keep the temperature at or below 40 degrees so the natural sugars are less likely to turn to starch. Eat it in less than two days if you plan to have “fresh corn,” or use it in a recipe where less-than-fresh corn won’t be as noticeable. You can also remove the kernels from the ears and freeze.

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