Summer is around the corner, and it is time to celebrate the beloved yellow vegetable.
Corn on the cob is a great way to enjoy the barbecue-filled days ahead…and also a perfect plant-based addition to any meal.
Let’s find out more about it in honor of National Corn on the Cob Day on June 11th.
What Is Corn?
Interestingly, the word corn comes from the Old Norse word ‘korn’, which was a general term encompassing all grains including rye, wheat, and oats.
In many countries, corn is known as maize, which originates from the Spanish word maiz.
Corn comes in a rainbow of colors: white, red, bluish/black, purple, green, and yellow.
While most of us think of corn as something to eat, it is frequently used to manufacture a range of other products including antibiotics, hand soap, ethanol, fireworks, glue, paint, dyes, cosmetics, shoe polish and laundry detergent.
The Best Way to Pick and Prepare Corn
Of all the corn varieties out there, sweet corn is the most popular.
Ideally, sweet corn is picked when the kernels are still yellow, tender and contain a milky white fluid, about 18-22 days after silking.
It is important not to shuck the corn until you want to eat it; the husk retains the moisture and keeps the kernels plump.
When shopping for corn at the grocery store or farmer’s market, always be on the lookout for corn with healthy green husks and golden silks. The ideal corn will have a vibrant yellow color and plump shape. If you are unsure, you can always ask the vendor for a peek under the husk.
The most common options for preparing corn on the cob are boiling, steaming, roasting, and grilling. When you grill or roast the corn, make sure to leave the husk on for the best results.
Some Interesting Historical Facts
The oldest known fossil of corn was discovered in Mexico. This 5,000-year-old corn cob called ‘Tehuacan162’ measures 16.3 millimeters long and 3.1 millimeters wide, a fraction of the size of today’s corn on the cob.
Corn is an ancient grain that was enjoyed long before European settlers arrived in the Americas. Both the Mayans and the Aboriginal Canadians were believed to have eaten corn on the cob.
When Christopher Columbus reached Cuba in 1492, Native Americans famously gave him maize as a gift.
In addition to being eaten, corn was also used to build Native American shelters and fences. It was even used as money to trade for other products!
When coffee became excessively expensive in the mid-1800s, thrifty Americans used parched corn as a coffee substitute. They also used ashes from burned corn on the cob as a swap for baking soda.
How to Celebrate National Corn on the Cob Day
To celebrate National Corn on the Cob Day, how about sharing some fun facts with your family and friends?
- Antarctica is the only place in the world where corn does not grow.
- The corn ear (the cob of corn) is a part of the flower while the kernel is a seed.
- Corn always has an even number of rows on each cob.
- Every corn kernel has one silk strand, the long threads found on the top of the corn ear.
And, of course, make sure to eat some corn on the cob!!
Today we are excited to share a creative corn on the cob recipe—Mexican-Style Corn on the Cob.