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Favorite Jersey Fresh Sweet Corn Now in Season

For Immediate Release: July 15, 2003


Hope Gruzlovic




Jersey Fresh sweet corn - eagerly anticipated after a short delay in the start of the season -- is now available at many farm markets, Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus announced today. As quantities begin to build, sweet corn will be increasingly available on supermarket shelves beginning next week.

"While the cold and wet spring pushed back harvests of sweet corn and other summer produce by 10 days or more, the good news is that it'll be worth the wait," said Kuperus. "Nothing beats the great taste of Jersey Fresh sweet corn, and this year's crop will be no different."

When choosing corn, look for ears with bright green, snugly fitting husks, and golden brown silk. Inside, the kernels should come all the way to the ear's tip, with tightly spaced rows, and appear plump and milky. If pricked, a kernel should spurt milky white juice. Choose ears with medium-sized kernels. Very small kernels are immature, and large kernels have a starchy taste. Yellow corn has larger, fuller-flavored kernels, while white kernels are smaller and sweeter.

For best flavor, eat sweet corn as soon as possible. Leaving husks on when storing corn helps preserves the flavor. At room temperature, the glucose in corn will convert to starch in as little as 24 hours, so refrigeration is critical for maintaining freshness. Corn absorbs odors from foods such as green onions, so avoid storing with other produce. Keep unshucked fresh corn in the refrigerator until ready to use, wrapped in damp paper towels and placed in a plastic bag. Refrigerate for no more than three days unless it is freshly picked.

To prepare corn, husk and wash it, fill a pot three-quarters full with water, boil the water, add the corn and cook for about 5 minutes or to taste.

Last year, New Jersey farmers harvested 79.1 million pounds of sweet corn on 8,500 acres. The crop was valued at $17.2 million.

Following is a recipe for sweet corn from Jersey Fresh Cooks, a cookbook available at local farm markets. The recipe was submitted by JoAnne Ruscio of Lambertville. For the location of farm markets or other information on Jersey Fresh, visit the Jersey Fresh website at www.jerseyfresh.nj.gov.

Jersey Fresh Corn Cakes

1 cup cornmeal
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large Jersey Fresh egg, beaten lightly
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup Jersey Fresh corn kernels, cooked and patted dry
additional buttermilk to thin batter, if needed
additional butter for grill

Whisk together until smooth the cornmeal, buttermilk, baking soda, salt, egg and melted butter. Stir in the corn and let the batter stand for 15-20 minutes. If the batter is too thick, thin with additional buttermilk. The consistency should be similar to pancake batter. When the griddle is hot, brush with melted butter and drop the batter by tablespoons onto the griddle. Cook about one minute, turn and cook about one minute more. You can make these corn cakes in advance. Cover tightly and chill. Bring to room temperature and re-heat in a foil-covered baking dish for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Do not allow to dry out. Makes about 25 corn cakes.