Summer BBQ’s just aren’t the same without corn. Although you can get corn all year round, the local summer corn is the sweetest and least expensive corn of the year. Whether you steam it, boil it, BBQ it or microwave it, corn is a delicious and versatile vegetable. Corn can be eaten on the cob, in a salad, soup or salsa, as a side vegetable or in corn bread. Corn meal is also used to make tortillas, burritos, polenta and corn tortilla chips.
Nutritionally, corn is a good source of the B vitamins thiamin and pantothenic acid which are involved in energy metabolism and folic acid which is essential for protein metabolism, red blood cell formation and preventing neural tube defects. ½ cup of corn (a medium ear of corn) contains 74 kcal, 2.5g protein, 2g fibre and 18g carbohydrates. Although corn is high in carbohydrates, the protein and fibre make it a slower carbohydrate with a low-mod glycemic index between 35 and 60. Corn contains both soluble and insoluble fibre. The insoluble fibre is digested by the good bacteria in the colon, producing short chain fatty acids (SCFA’s) which provide fuel to the intestinal cells and may help reduce the risk of colon cancer. Corn also contains phytochemicals such as the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin which are involved in prevention of macular degeneration. Other phytochemicals in corn may help lower blood pressure.
When purchasing an ear of corn, be sure it has been stored in a cool area, preferably refrigerated or on ice. Be sure the husk is green and not dried up. The kernels should be plump and tightly packed going from largest to smallest at the tip.
When cooking corn don’t add salt to the cooking water as this will make the corn starchy and tough. Steaming corn is the healthiest way to cook corn. It can also be boiled for 4 minutes or microwaved for 2 minutes in the husk. Then cut off the stem end of the cob 1 cm in from the end and shake the cob loose from its silks and husk.