Food and Drink

   

In Season: Corn

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First cultivated by the Mayans and Aztecs of central and southern Mexico around 1250 corn, or maize, quickly spread to the rest of the Americas. Hardy and able to grow in a variety of climates, once was introduced to Europe it soon became a staple of many cuisines, from polenta in Italy to mealie pap (a type of porridge) in Africa.

Today corn remains one of the most versatile foods on the planet, appearing in everything from cereals to breads to snacks and sweets. It’s also good for you too, being a rich source of vitamins B and C, dietary fibre and folate. It’s great for your heart, a natural energy booster and helps prevent age-related memory impairments such as senility and Alzheimer’s – so don’t forget to eat plenty of corn!

Fortunately it also tastes great, is cheap as chips and now in season. Since heat turns the sugar in corn to starch, it’s important to store corn in a cool place. When selecting look for corn that’s refrigerated or kept out of direct sunlight. Husks should be fresh, flexible and green, not yellowed or brittle. Kernels must be plump and tightly packed together, test the juiciness by pressing on a kernel – fresh corn will produce a slight milky substance.

To get the best out of corn buy it on the day you plan to eat it, though it also freezes well. For a simple, satisfying treat simply throw a few cobs on the barbie, medium heat, taking care not to burn the kernels. After a few minutes remove, sprinkle with curry powder and rub with lime. Simple, sensational and summery!