Monday, July 8, 2013

An Ode to Corn

Growing up in California, there were few ways to mark the seasons. Winter brought holidays and morning fog, spring and fall were too hot for sitting in classrooms without air conditioning, and summer was when we would grill, and eat, as much fresh corn as we possibly could.

I remember it like a ritual. Analogous to Summer Solstice - it wasn't really summer until I sank my teeth into the first grilled corn cob of the year. My dad always prepared the grill while I prepared the corn - pruning off excess husks/silk/stem. Then I would parade my pile of pruned corn out to the grill where we would grill it till the husks were good and black. As soon as it was barely cool enough to touch, we would peel off the burnt husks and silk to expose the steaming succulent kernels within. But before we ate the corn, we had to count the rows of kernels. Supposedly, as my dad would say, an odd number of rows was rare, and therefore lucky. Over the years I began to get suspicious about the frequency of odd-numbered ears of corn. Perhaps I'm just lucky.

I still get giddy at the thought of grilled summer corn. And now that we have a functioning grill, we can have corn all the time! 

I've heard several different methods for grilling corn: soak it in water and grill it with the husks on to make "steamed" corn, or remove the husks and grill it so some of the kernels themselves get charred. I'm still a fan of my dad's method: just put it on the grill (husks and all) and it's done when it's black. By allowing the husks to burn, a subtle smokey/roasty flavor gets imparted to the corn while keeping the kernels moist and delicious.

I feel slightly ashamed to admit that I don't count the rows on my corn cobs anymore. I'd much more rather sink my teeth in and get straight to savoring each and every kernel.

While summer is all about corn fresh from the grill, that doesn't mean the rest of the year is devoid of corn. Corn freezes fabulously, and for every corn cob I eat, I make a couple extra to freeze for the winter.

How to freeze corn (or almost any other vegetable)
1) Cook it.
2) Cut it off the cob, or otherwise cut it into usable sized pieces.

3) Spread it in on a cookie sheet and put it in the freezer. 

4) Once frozen, scrape everything into a bag and put it back in the freezer.

Heck yeah grilled corn year round!

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