Corn is the English word for any type of grain, except here in America where it refers to the grain that Native Americans were the first to call maize.
First domesticated in southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago, today it is a major American crop that is planted on 90 million acres. Its uses are so many that corn is an ingredient in more than 2,000 items in the supermarket ranging from corn starch to hand soap to breakfast cereal.
This time of year we are primarily interested in the ears of white, yellow and bicolor corn being harvested locally. These are sweet corn, as opposed to popcorn, or field corn which is grown for livestock feed and to make ethanol.
Corn is a versatile food; you can eat it on or off the cob or add it to salads, soups, pancakes, muffins, salsas, stir-fries and frittatas. It is rich in vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, contains very little fat and is a good source of fiber. It is a starch with about 88 calories and 19 grams of carbohydrate per ear, and it is best not to overindulge. But an ear or two with dinner is a welcome side dish.
Other ways to use corn in meals include adding fresh kernels of corn to cornbread made with cornmeal, or trying this recipe from justataste.com
Quick and Easy Corn Fritters
3 cups corn kernels, fresh
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup heavy cream
Vegetable oil, for frying
Sliced scallions, for serving
Sour cream or garlic aioli, for serving
In a large bowl, stir together the corn kernels, flour, sugar, baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Stir in the eggs and heavy cream until the batter is well-combined.
Line a plate with paper towels. Coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with vegetable oil and place it over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is hot, scoop 2- to 3-tablespoon mounds of the corn batter into the pan, spreading it lightly into a flat, circular shape. Cook the fritters for 2 to 3 minutes, then flip them once and cook them an additional 3 minutes until they’re golden brown and cooked through.
Transfer the fritters to the paper towel-lined plate, season them immediately with salt and repeat the cooking process with the remaining batter, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
Garnish the corn fritters with scallions and serve them with sour cream or garlic aioli for dipping.
If you were in England and someone referred to corn, that person wouldn’t necessarily be talking about the kind that is currently in season at local farms.