My Generation

The (Sweet Corn) Ears Have It

If sweet corn is a trusty prognosticator of field corn, fall may shape up better than we thought.

Got any sweet corn? ‘Cause if you don’t, we could fix you up. This annual rite of summertime is in full swing here in our neighborhood, as we cook it up, freeze it up and generally eat far more corn than we ever should. I spent a good share of this past weekend putting up sweet corn, and it all went pretty well…right up until I dumped an entire pan of cooling corn into the bottom of my freezer. And out onto the floor. And under the refrigerator. And splattered on the cabinets. As my 6-year-old put it, “Wow, Mom. That’s a big mess.” Thanks, honey. I don’t even know what happened. It was in my hand, and then it was on the floor. Just like that.


But enough of that. There’s an old wives’ tale about sweet corn being a barometer of the fall corn crop. Pollination problems or buggy sweet corn can indicate the same in the field corn. Small sweet corn ears? Look for smaller-than-normal ears of field corn.


Well, let me just say that after picking, shucking, cutting, cooking, bagging and freezing far more sweet corn than I care to think about, if that old tale bears any truth whatsoever, we are in luck this fall. The sweet corn here on the Spangler farm has been beautiful. Big ears, filled completely to the tip, no stress rings, and very few bugs or ear worms. And we’ve eaten far too much of it. But if there’s anything to that old tale, it would be welcome news for sure.


And a side note for sweet corn lovers: I tried out Pampered Chef’s new kernel cutter gadget this year. The verdict: it works great! Once I got onto it, it really sped up my cutting-off time. A group of farmwives and I were debating about whether it would really work at the party, but we all decided that for $7.50, it was worth a try. And if nothing else, at least it would give us something to look forward to as we worked our way through endless buckets of ears.

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