By Greg Doering on July 6, 2020
While chatting with my nephew a few days ago he confessed the Fourth of July is his second favorite holiday, coming in just behind Christmas. I have to agree, though I suspect our reasons might differ some.
Our conversation made me remember how special the Fourth was growing up. The building excitement in late June waiting for fireworks stands to open, knowing my cousins from faraway would come to celebrate and, of course, eating our traditional Independence Day meal.
Dinner wasn’t fancy, and for most it was a precursor to my grandmother’s homemade ice cream and apple pie. For me though the true delicacy amidst the hamburgers, French fries and other assorted sides was corn on the cob fresh from the garden.
There’s nothing better than biting into an ear of sweet corn lightly buttered with just a dash of salt. The perfect mix of savory and sweet combines with a satisfying crunch.
Now our food supply chains mean you can find an ear of sweet corn at the grocery store just about any time of year, but it will never come close to the taste of kernels just plucked from the stalk. The sugar inside each yellow nugget starts converting to starch as soon as it’s picked.
Like a bursting firework, the peak sweetness is fleeting. The faster an ear goes into a pot of boiling water (or on the grill), the faster it lands on your plate with the maximum amount of sugar intact.
There’s nothing better on a hot summer day than picking a few ears from the garden or grabbing some from a roadside stand, shucking the husks and peeling away the silk for a tasty side. With any luck, it might even be sweeter than your dessert.
If you don’t have access to a garden or have trouble locating a roadside stand, there’s Shop Kansas Farms, a Facebook group designed to help connect consumers with farmers and ranchers. This virtual farmers market lets you find just about anything that grows in Kansas, including local sweet corn.