Look below to find more info about corn including: health benefits, general cooking tips and corn recipes as well as information about the Food Bank’s gleaning program.
Labor Day may have come and gone, but we still have a few weeks of summer left and there is still lots of fresh corn-on-the-cob to be had! This summer was hot in Southwestern Pennsylvania, which means that we will be able to enjoy farm-fresh, local corn until the end of September. Much of the corn that is distributed through the Food Bank’s Produce to People program comes from local farms across Southwestern and Central Pennsylvania.
- Corn, on- or off-the-cob, is an excellent source of fiber. When you eat the whole kernel, you are eating the whole grain. Eat the “whole” food to get the most fiber.
- Corn is relatively high in protein (6 grams of protein per every 1 cup). Add corn and black beans to a simple salsa recipe for a satisfying, protein-packed snack.
- To preserve freshness, wrap sweet corn (husk and all) tightly in a plastic bag and refrigerate.
- Store sweet corn in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. Use as soon as possible for the best flavor and texture! Sweet corn tends to get a little mushy as it gets older.
Although corn comes in a rainbow of colors from red and purple to blue and even multi-color, the most common types of sweet corn grown in Southwestern Pennsylvania are white, yellow and bi-color. Some common varieties you might see at the farmers’ market include Bodacious, Super Sweet, Silver Queen, Temptation, and Butter & Sugar.
For perfect corn-on-the-cob:
Every family has a recipe for cooking corn-on-the-cob, here’s one: Fill a large pot (large metal soup pots or pasta pots tend to work the best) with cold water. Add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of sugar. Drop the ears of corn into the water and bring to a boil, with the pot uncovered. When the water comes to a boil, cover the pot with a lid and turn off the heat. (Quick tip: The water is boiling when bubbles start dancing on the surface of the water) Let stand for one minute. Remove from the water and serve immediately with a slather of butter or add freshly cooked corn to your favorite corn recipe.
To savor that sweet summer flavor, try freezing fresh corn.
To freeze fresh corn-off-the-cob:
You can freeze cooked or raw corn. Simply stand the corn upright on the stem end of the ear. With a sharp knife, guide the blade along the cob to remove the kernels. Spread the kernels on a sheet pan or shallow baking dish and place in the freezer for a few hours until they are firm. When the corn is frozen, use a spatula to scrape the kernels off of the pan and into a freezer bag. Squeeze out an excess air in the bag and seal. Frozen corn should last for up to six months in the freezer in a well-sealed freezer bag. Frozen corn is a great addition to your favorite chili recipe, stir fry dishes, or even a simple potato hash. Check out our recipe for Corn and Apple Skillet (below) for a little kitchen inspiration.
Don’t have a pot big enough to boil corn-on-the-cob? You can cook whole corn cobs, in the husk, right in your microwave!
To cook corn-on-the-cob in the microwave:
Cook an ear of corn, still in the husk, in the microwave on High for five minutes. Using a pot holder or a clean dish towel (the corn will be really hot!), hold the ear and cut off the stem end of the corn. Then simply shake the ear loose from the husk. Corn is ready-to-eat without any shucking or having to pull off all those sticky silk threads.
Corn and Apple Skillet
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- 2 banana peppers (or other hot peppers), seeds removed and diced
- 2 ears of corn, kernels cut from cob
- 1 tart apple, peeled, cored and diced
- 3 Tbs oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Black pepper to taste
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and let oil get hot. Add black pepper, onion and salt. Cook onion for 3-5 minutes, stirring regularly, or until onion starts to brown.
- Add hot peppers, cook, stirring frequently, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add corn kernels. Cook, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes.
- Add apples. Cook, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes.
What on earth is gleaning? Gleaning means to gather fruits and vegetables that are left over in the field after the harvest. Sometimes farmers do not have the time or capacity to harvest every fruit on the plant. That’s where the Food Bank comes in. Over the past few weeks, staff and volunteers of the Food Bank have been out gleaning in the fields of family farms across Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Gleaned produce is picked up at the farm, taken back to the Food Bank and then distributed to a member agency or to families at one of the Food Bank’s Produce to People distribution sites. This fresh, nutritious produce that would have otherwise gone to waste, now goes to families in needs right in our community. In the past few weeks, staff and volunteers have gleaned corn at Harvest Valley Farm in Gibsonia, Brenckle’s Organic Farm in Zelienople, Greenawalt Farms in Westmoreland County.
For more information on gleaning or how you can help, visit: https://www.pittsburghfoodbank.org/gleaning/