Corn is the world’s most widely produced crop. It comes in many colors, all of which are delicious and provide different antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Many consider corn a vegetable, but it’s actually a whole grain. Whole grains such as corn have more vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fiber, and protein than processed grains. Fiber has been linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer by feeding good bacteria in the gut, which supports healthy colon cells.
Corn is a staple worldwide. There’s polenta in Italy, mote from Chile and Peru, Mexican corn flour tortillas, and, of course, the buttery corn on the cob, popcorn, grits, and cornbread we love to eat here in the USA. What we don’t fully realize is the extent corn has become a hidden component of processed foods, notably in the use of the ubiquitous High Fructose Corn Syrup. Sadly, by the time corn gets to your table in this form, it’s been super refined and stripped of most of its vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, thiamin, folate, and magnesium.
In the summer, ripe, yellow sweet corn cobs are hard to resist. When choosing fresh corn, make sure the husks are bright green and still feel a little damp. If the husks are dry, then the corn is likely old. Peel down the top silks and husk a little to make sure the kernels inside look plump and yellow. You should also be able to feel the large individual kernels underneath the husk.
Corn loses its sweetness and turns starchy tasting relatively quickly so eat it as soon as you can after purchasing. If you can’t, strip off the kernels with a sharp knife and bag and freeze the kernels for another day.
Frozen and canned corn provide the same health benefits as fresh and are a little easier to use. Corn tortillas are a great substitute for flour tortillas in our Goat Cheese & Chard Quesadillas. They are lower in calories, higher in fiber, and provide a great gluten-free option if you require it.