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Iowa Sweet Corn • Family and Farming

Iowa Sweet Corn

Today’s recipe is Corn on the Cob! There are people who think it’s weird that we will eat corn on the cob exclusively for some meals with nothing else on our plates. I’m sure to the average person that is kind of different. But there’s a reason.

A sweet corn feast is a once a year experience. After preparing our garden, sweet corn seed (we like the Peaches and Cream variety) is planted in straight rows. You can’t plant just one row of seed. In order for the plants to pollinate, you need to plant at least 4-5 rows 18 inches apart. It takes sixty to ninety days for the sweet corn to grow and mature. Rural Iowa is home to many varmints that can cut your crop down to nothing in a matter of hours. We don’t have many problems with deer, birds or squirrels, but raccoons love to eat our sweet corn! We’ve discovered a radio set to heavy metal during the night will deter most raccoons.

If you wait sixty to ninety days for something that is a once-a-year experience, you are going to perhaps over-do it! Farm fresh is a two-word concept that very few people get to truly experience, and if you are lucky enough to have a patch of sweet corn or you know that your corn was actually picked right before lunch or dinner, you will eat nothing but corn for that meal!

Easy to Prepare Corn on the Cob

Tools You’ll Need:

  • A large pot to boil water
  • Tongs to lift the corn out of the boiling water
  • Corn holders. (If this is single experience, use two forks)

Corn on the Cob Ingredients:

  • Corn on cob
  • A large pot of water set to boil
  • Butter
  • Salt and Pepper

Before you can excitedly pick the corn out of the garden, you need to check it while the sweet corn is still on the corn stalk. You can tell it’s ready when the silk turns brown but the leaves around the cob are still green. Squeeze the tip of the ear. If it’s pointy, it might not be ready. Peel back an edge of the ear and check for plump kernels. Put your fingernail in a kernel. If it’s watery, it’s not quite ready. If it’s milky, it’s ready!

Notice the silk is brown-ish. The next step is to peel back the husk to see the status of the corn.
All cleaned up and ready to boil!
Our no-weed gardening method involves throwing vegetable waste on the garden. Corn husks, and later, the cobs are thrown on top of old straw used to maintain moisture and keep weeds down.

Shuck Sweet Corn Outside!

Pick enough corn for everyone. Two to three ears should be a good start. (Remember, it’s a meal…) During the shucking, set a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When the water is boiling, place the ears of corn in the pot. How many ears you put in depends on how big your pot is. I can put around six ears at a time in the boiling water. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes. OR you can put the corn in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil and then take the corn out at that point. Your choice!

Notice the boiled sweet corn color is darker and the kernels are plumper. Bring on the butter!

Put butter on the corn. You can do this by slathering the butter on each ear with a knife or put butter on a plate and roll the ear of corn around it, whatever you choose. Most people like to sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on the buttered corn. Enjoy your once-a-year experience!

Yes, we throw our sweet corn cobs into the garden.
You might want to give everyone some sort of dental floss to use after their sweet corn meal.

Corn and Macaroni Casserole

In case you don’t have access to garden-fresh sweet corn, and only have cans of corn in your pantry, here’s a recipe I cut out from a farm magazine years ago. Corn and Macaroni Casserole is a way to include vegetables into a mac and cheese favorite. It will become a go-to for potlucks and when you want to stretch your food budget and be able to throw something together faster than you can say, “Let’s save money!” Yes, it’s considered low-brow food, but get off your high horse and give Corn and Macaroni Casserole a try, it tastes good!

Corn & Macaroni Casserole/ Tools You’ll Need:

  • Bowl & wooden spoon to mix
  • Can opener
  • 2 qt casserole
  • Cooking spray
  • Aluminum foil to cover

Corn & Macaroni Casserole Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter (1/2 C)
  • 1 C dry macaroni
  • 1 C cubed Velveeta cheese
  • 1 can corn (undrained)
  • 1 can creamed corn

Melt butter & mix with everything else. Pour into a sprayed 2 qt casserole. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 350˚ oven for 30 minutes. Uncover, stir and bake 30 minutes more.

Yep. Carby-comfort food! Dig in!

Corn & Macaroni Casserole Cooking Notes:

You can substitute a bag of mixed vegetables for the corn if you wish.

When you uncover the casserole, make sure you stir it well before putting it back into the oven. This stirring ensures you don’t have any dry macaroni on the edges of the casserole.

If you’ve never experienced just-picked sweet corn for a meal, you have to try it!

Be Blessed!

Love to hear what you think!