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Family Matters Newsletter – July 2018   arrow

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Sweet corn one of Colorado’s Proud

By Anne Zander, Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Agent, Boulder County
child eating corn
Colorado is known for producing some of the best sweet corn in the nation. Our unique soil, growing climate and innovative farming practices, produces high quality sweet corn. Harvest and shipping of Colorado sweet corn is typically mid-July through mid-October.

Types of Corn

Sweet Corn (fresh, frozen, dried, canned), consumed as a vegetable. About 1 % of all corn in the U.S. is sweet corn.

Field Corn – Close to 99 %of all U.S., grown corn is field corn. Most field corn becomes either food for animals or turned into ethanol for fuel. The rest becomes food for humans in a wide variety of products.


Corn is sodium-free, low in fat, high in fiber, and a source of vitamin A, C, and thiamin. Whether eating corn on the cob or popcorn, the carbohydrates and
fiber satisfies our hunger and keeps us feeling full. The fiber also keeps our intestinal track running smoothly.

Selection of Sweet Corn

The first thing to check out is the corn husk. It should be tightly folded, moist, bright green color, and free of any brown or moldy spots. The tassels or silk on fresh corn should be soft, golden, and slightly sticky. It is best to purchase sweet corn that has been kept in refrigeration or cool storage as heat increases the rate of spoilage.

Feel each ear gently through the husk without peeling it to check for even plump kernels. Peeling back of the husks only dries out the corn for the
refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Storage of Sweet Corn

The fresher the sweet corn, the better the taste and flavor. After only a few hours at room temperature, sugars turn to starch, causing loss of flavor and overall sweetness. To store corn, use perforated plastic bags and refrigerate as soon as possible. Ideally, try to use the corn within 1-2 days and do not husk until just prior to cooking. Fresh corn may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Preparation of Sweet Corn

Corn can be prepared in a variety of ways depending on your time and family?s preferences:

  1. Boil: Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add shucked corn on the cob, cover, and cook 5 -7 minutes. Drain well before serving.
  2. Microwave: Place 2-3 ears of corn in a microwave-safe dish with 2 tablespoons of water and cover. Microwave on high 4-6 minutes.
  3. Raw: Husk and wash corn, then cut kernels off cob and add to salads and side dishes.
  4. Grill: Follow directions in Elotes (Grilled Mexican Corn) Recipe


Let’s Talk: Topics for family discussion

There are more than 3,500 ways to use corn! It is in thousands of products we use every day, which makes corn valuable to our country.

Activity: Go to your kitchen and pull out various food items. Read the ingredient list and you will probably find some form of corn listed. Examples foods with corn ingredients include bakery products, baby foods, gum, puddings, custards, prepared desserts, salad dressings, baking mixes, pie/pastry fillings, candies, nougats, snack foods, fruit drinks, canned fruits, dehydrated foods, instant tea, instant breakfast foods, ice cream, and low-cal sweeteners. For a list of items that contain corn visit: The National Corn Growers Association Website

Fun Facts about corn are: One ear of corn has about 16 rows and 800 kernels. The number of rows will always be an even number. There is one silk for every kernel that grows in an ear of corn.

Recipe for Health:

Grilled Mexican Corn

mexican corn

  • 4 ears shucked sweet corn
  • 4 T. plain yogurt
  • 4 T. light mayonnaise
  • ¼c. Cotija or Parmesan cheese
  • Chili powder, to taste
  • ¼c. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Directions: Now for a family meal preparation activity that everyone can get involved with – how to remove the corn silk from the cob. The easiest way is using a vegetable scrub brush or even a clean toothbrush and brush away the silk that remains on the corn cob.

  1. Grill sweet corn, rotating occasionally until cooked through with grill marks.
  2. Mix yogurt and mayonnaise, spread evenly over grilled corn.
  3. Sprinkle cheese and chili powder evenly over each ear, then top with cilantro.
  4. Serve with lime wedges and enjoy!

References:; Iowa State Univ. Ext.; Nat. Corn Growers Assoc.; USDA-Ag in the Classroom