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Go For The Gold – Sweet Corn!
To much of the world, corn means merely “grain”. But to Americans, the word is one to conjure with, summoning images of an ephemeral summer treat. Famously knee-high by midsummer, sweet corn is harvested, the ears appearing in all their golden, silk-tasseled glory at produce stands across the country. Mowing down rows of kernels as you devour corn on the cob is a near-sacred seasonal ritual, but it is only the beginning of corn’s culinary clout. Removed from the cob, those same kernels become a prized resource for summer’s cooks. The yellow gems are a far different matter from the kernels sold in the supermarket’s frozen-food section.
Hand-sliced from the cob, in an easy process requiring only the simplest of tools, they carry the same deep flavor and pleasing textural mix – a skin that pops in your mouth and an interior that’s as silky smooth as custard – as when on the cob. Released from their stationary position, these kernels are free to be baked in pies, infused into liquids, sauteed with flavorful ingredients, or cooked in virtually any other manner you can imagine, bringing fresh corn’s matchless flavor along with them.
To those of you familiar with it only on the cob, fresh corn in its kernel state proves a surprisingly versatile ingredient. Suitable to a wide range of cooking methods, it also adapts easily to flavor footprints from around the world.
The Indigenous Americans were the first to make a version of corn fritters, and passed the idea along to early settlers. We’ve been enjoying them ever since, especially in summer when corn is at its best. Sweet Corn Fritters… the outside is crisp, and the inside is moist and sweet…we eat them with warm maple syrup for breakfast, straight from the fridge for a snack, and definitely topped with sour cream with dinner!
“I have a love affair with tomatoes and corn. I remember them from my childhood. I only had them in summer. They were extraordinary.”
~ Alice Waters