Written for the River Current Publication
What screams summer more than a steamy, buttered ear of corn on the cob? Sweet corn is one of summer’s simplest, purest pleasures. A fresh-picked ear, cooked to perfection and lightly buttered, offers us an incredible sweetness, intoxicating flavor and who would have guessed…healthy, nutritional benefits too!
I know I anxiously await its arrival and then seem determined to eat it with every meal...before it becomes a distant memory until the following year. I remember as a child pretending with my brother and sister that we were typewriters; skillfully gliding our teeth across the tiny golden rows of corn; working our way across each row before we returned back the other way…filled with delight as the butter dripped down our chins. I asked a younger gal at work today if she would understand what I meant if I shared this typewriter analogy. She replied, Oh yeah, of course I would know what that meant. One of these days very soon, the younger generation will no longer play typewriter with their corn, because they will never have had the experience of a dinging typewriter carriage as it returned for the next row of typing. (Oh my, this is making me feel old!)
Fun facts to know about these golden nuggets of corn:
1. An ear of corn has about the same number of calories as an apple and less than ¼ the sugar. It can be one of the healthier choices at the cookout unless you slather it with outrageous amounts of butter and salt. (All things in moderation.)
2. The antioxidant activity in corn is increased when it is cooked.
3. Sweet corn is loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that promote healthy vision .
4. A midsize ear offers a helpful 3-gram dose of dietary fiber.
5. Corn contains good levels of the valuable B-complex group of vitamins and minerals like zinc, magnesium, copper, iron and manganese.
6. The significant amount of folate corn supplies helps in maintaining good health for our heart. Statistics have proven that regular consumption of folate reduces heart attack rates by 10%.
7. Another major health benefit is the increase in memory levels. The reason for this is the presence of Thiamin which is traditionally known to be a key role player for energy production in a human body and also helps in increasing cognitive function.
8. Another important element of sweet corn is panthothenic acid which is rich in Viatmin B content and helps energy production under extreme stressful conditions.
Who knew delicious sweet corn had so many health benefits to offer!
Creamy Corn Chowder
2 slices bacon, diced
1 small onion, chopped
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp. EVOO
Fresh sweet corn corn cut from 4 ears (approx. 3 cups)
2 Tbsp. flour
6 cups milk
½ tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Place bacon, shallot and onion in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat 10 minutes or until bacon is crispy. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
2. Drain bacon grease; add EVOO, potatoes and corn, and stir to combine. Sprinkle flour over the veggie mixture and stir well. Cook 5 minutes. Add milk. Turn heat to low and simmer 20 to 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
3. Transfer 1 cup of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Return the pureed soup to the saucepan along with salt, pepper and cooked bacon.