Tuesday, August 05, 2008

corn

Luscious ears of tightly packed golden kernels oozing with sweetness. It's hard to believe that something so magnificent can grow in the backyard. Putting up corn is a gardening tradition in our little cottage.

Once the tassels appear, we keep an anxious eye on the weather hoping we don't get rain just as the dusty pollen begins to fly. In an effort to pollinate every last kernel, we collect the dust in a cone and sprinkle it on those ears which are growing at the outer edges, away from the prevailing wind.

After pollination, the silks brown and the ears begin to swell, growing fatter each day and increasing our anticipation of what's to come. Picking the right moment to harvest is key, and we puncture a kernel or two each day just waiting for that moment when the juice that results is a creamy and thick elixir of sweetness.

We had the first ears last night, along with jerk chicken and a squash and onion sautee, also from the garden. They were indescribably delicious covered in butter and lightly salted. I could eat a dozen of them. No store bought or canned or frozen corn even comes close.

This morning I skipped out of work to preserve the harvest. Ear after ear was stripped of its green leaves to expose a network of lacy silks inside. The effort required makes the glowing kernels feel like a reward, and they are. Better than any corn, anywhere, this fresh-from-the-garden treat.

I steam blanched the ears six at a time, plunged them into an icy bath and then dried them carefully before wrapping tightly for the freezer. Frozen garden corn is never quite the same as that pulled directly from the plant and quickly boiled, but it is half again as good as any other corn I've ever tasted.

Midwinter we'll sit down to an evening meal of stew and salad and we'll have golden ears of garden corn on the plate as well. I can close my eyes on the coldest night of the year, take a bite and it's summer again. Magic.

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13 Comments:

Blogger Jackie said...

What a delicious post! I love corn on the cob and can imagine how good fresh from the garden must be. I don't like salt or butter on mine any more. Just the corn.
Thanks for the pollination info, very interesting for a city girl like me.
Corn is one of natures greatest gifts. Your descriptions made me hungry.

August 05, 2008 4:43 PM  
Blogger Doralong said...

One of the most delightful gifts of summer indeed. The moment the Silver Queen comes in I gorge daily and freeze as much as I can stuff in there with out exploding the fridge.. and then carefully ration it out through the winter.

Good to hear from you dear- hope you and yours are well.

August 05, 2008 7:03 PM  
Blogger David said...

We call is maize. ;-)

August 06, 2008 1:26 PM  
Blogger evilganome said...

Ah yes. You have brought back memories of corn fresh from the garden and straight to the pot. Especially when we had the big family clam bake every summer when I was a kid.

August 06, 2008 4:45 PM  
Blogger rodger said...

I'm mad jealous Lynette. First you talk of tomato sandwiches and now corn and we're still weeks away from both crops ripening here.

We did get corn at the local farmers market last weekend and ate 2 ears each. Once ours arrives...we'll eat three or four each as our dinner. Yep, a big ol' cornfeed!

August 06, 2008 5:53 PM  
Blogger sageweb said...

Oh my mouth is watering. I love fresh corn. I eat it as if I was obsessed and not a care in the world. Corn all over my face.

August 07, 2008 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am grateful for the internet for a number of reasons: that it allows me to do my work more efficiently, that it lets me communicate with far-flung family and friends, that I can look up obscure and trivial information and that it led me to your blog. The down side, of course is that I now know I am not the smartest, most clever person and the best-est writer in the whole world, despite all that my parents have told me. You and your blog, apparently, are just the cross that must I bear. I hope you are like, so happy.

August 07, 2008 8:53 PM  
Anonymous Tater said...

Thank you for this interlude, sweetie. You reminded me of working on my great uncle's farm in Ryan, OK. How we would be harvesting watermelons, cantaloupe, tomatoes, and fresh okra in the blazing heat, and then retire to the ice house for lunch. Knife in hand we would grab a fresh cold melon, chop it in half, and just bury our faces in it, lost in sweet gluttony. Nothing beats fresh, home grown food, or the memories of the payoff at the end of our labor, to produce it. Better in some cases than sex. Much better in some cases. :)

August 09, 2008 5:45 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Wow, wonderful piece.

My dad and I used to grow corn on a small side patch at my grandfather's farm in Michigan.

The corn was a metaphor of the passing of summer- the taller it grew, the closer the time when I would be back in school.

As delicious as it was, there was sadness for me in the ending of summer.

I can close my eyes and taste it..

August 11, 2008 9:13 AM  
Blogger Dusty said...

Since the San Joaquin valley is home to plenty of the nations fruits and veggies I do enjoy a luscious ear of corn fresh from the field myself BaB. ;)

August 11, 2008 10:35 AM  
Blogger Blog O. Food said...

You stole my next blog entry right out from under me! Worse still, you wrote something exceedingly superior to anything I could ever dream up. Love and hate are battling for supremacy right now, but that was one damn fine piece of writing. - Coach

August 13, 2008 12:56 PM  
Blogger joe said...

Beautiful!

Some day in this life you, I, and a dozen or so of our dearest blogfriends will sit down to enjoy a lovely late-summer meal. At least I hope so.

August 16, 2008 11:05 PM  
Blogger joe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 16, 2008 11:05 PM  

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