Sweetcorn

 Sweetcorn Key facts Always try to eat sweetcorn as soon as possible as the sugar content decreases with age, as it turns to starch, making them taste less sweet. It was grown by several Native American tribes and is a rich source of antioxidants in the diet. It also responds well to being canned, making it a very useful convenience food.

Season: Home grown from July to October

Aesthetically one of the most beautiful vegetables, I think – such a visual work of art. Outside, the pale-green casings cover firm, silky-white threads, and all this to protect the plump, pale-golden kernels, full of juicy sweetness.

To remove sweetcorn kernels from corn on the cob: first of all, remove the green part and all the silky threads. Then stand the cob upright on a flat board and, using a very sharp paring knife , carefully scrape off all the kernels, keeping the knife deep in the husk so you get the whole kernel.

To cook sweetcorn: for corn on the cob, one way is to steam the cobs for about 15 minutes, or until the kernels feel tender when tested with a small skewer. Then dress with a little melted butter, season well with plenty of salt and freshly milled black pepper and eat straight from the cob. If you stick a small fork into each end, you can pick the whole thing up, or you can chop the cob into smaller sections that can be lifted with your hands. Don't forget the napkins and finger bowls.

By far the best and most delicious way to cook and eat corn on the cob is to strip the casing and silky threads off as described above. Toss the cobs in a little olive oil, season well with salt and black pepper and roast on an open barbecue. Watch them carefully, turning them all the time, until they're toasted golden brown – 5-10 minutes. You will need one medium head of corn per person.

Warning: never try to cut corn cobs before cooking, as it's virtually impossible. After cooking, a very sharp knife will cut them into chunks that you can bite straight into. Finally, sweetcorn kernels stripped from the cob and oven-roasted can be served as a vegetable or used to make Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Sweetcorn.

 
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