By Linda Ditch on October 2, 2019
Kansas corn harvest is well underway. Combines rumble through the tall, dry stalks from the wee hours of the morning into night harvesting the hard, golden kernels from the cobs. Of course, if you’re like me, you’ve enjoyed fresh Kansas sweet corn all summer long, slathered with butter.
Here’s a fun fact you might not know: the sweet corn we enjoy is much different from the field corn that’s currently being harvested. Field corn is used to make food products like cornmeal, corn chips and corn syrup, but it’s primarily grown for animal feed. Ninety-nine percent of the corn grown in the United States is field corn!
Lucky for us corn lovers, there are plenty of options when fresh sweet corn is out of season thanks to frozen, canned and ground varieties. This makes it easy to add corn to just about anything.
Have you ever tried adding corn to chili? The sweetness helps balance the spiciness. How about in burrito bowls? I love corn combined with black beans and pico de gallo on top of brown rice, with a little cheese and salsa.
Although the corn being harvested is different from what we eat, we should still celebrate the hard work of farmers with one of these three recipes. The first is a delicious corn chowder based on one I had at Public at the Brickyard in Wichita. It was so good I begged for the recipe, then adapted it for the home kitchen.
My kid-friendly corn muffin recipe was tested out a few years ago when I was a Montessori preschool teacher in Topeka. I am a firm believer that kids who cook are also kids who like good, wholesome food. My class helped make these muffins, and they were a hit. You can add blueberries and a sprinkle of sugar on top to make them a breakfast treat.
My students also liked this Indian pudding recipe. This is a dish I brought with me from New England. According to the folks at Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts, the recipe first showed up in cookbooks in 1796, but historians believe it was served for many years before. Today it’s a Thanksgiving tradition.
To tempt my preschoolers to try it, I put a little whipped cream on top. (Ice cream is a good choice as well.) I also had them smell it. The cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg aromas were too alluring to pass up. They loved it.
Try being extra corny this fall (sorry, I couldn’t help myself!), and take a moment when you do to be thankful for farmers who made it possible.