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How to Identify the Best Sweet Corn


If you are anything like me, you will agree that shopping for sweet corn can be a headache given the many vendors pretending to offer fresh corn straight from the field. Getting fresh and juicy sweet corn mostly involves a tiresome and frustrating process of peeling off the husk and smelling. In many circumstances, the process fails terribly, and you end up with chalk-tasting corn.


First of all, it is good to note that sweet corn is at its best when fresh. It does not matter whether the freshness is as a result of a recent harvest or preservatives. With the information herein, you will be able to identify the best sweet corn. 

Why over ripen corns are not sweet
Before everything else, it is important to understand why an over ripen sweet corn will not be sweet. When fresh, sweet corn has a lot of sugars and litter starch in its grains. Once it is harvested, the process of sugar turning into starch sets in. As the days goes by, there is more of starch to sugars hence the chalky taste. However, you can say goodbye to the gross tasting corn by observing the following.


Fresh sweet corn has brown and sticky tassels
You can identify fresh sweet corn by touching and feeling its tassels. A fresh sweet corn will tend to have sticky and brown tassels in contrast to the black and dry tassels in an old sweet corn. When the corn is growing, the tassels act as the male flower while the kernels are female. Given that sweet corn should be harvested before the tassels fall off for it to be sweet, their absence or change of color can be an indicator that the corn is old.


A fresh sweet corn has a juicy shank
For those who do not know, a maize shank is what connects it to the stalk. If the sweet corn is fresh, its shank is likely to be juicy. You can determine this by observing the tip of the shank for freshness. If the tip is green and juicy, then the sweet corn is fresh. The freshness of the shank can also be determined by squeezing it for juice. If no juice is coming from the shank, then the sweet corn is not sweet.

The logic behind this method is that once the corn is detached from its stalk, it loses its water and hence freshness through its shank. The process is gradual and the more the days pass, the drier the shank gets. An old corn will have a dry shank. 

A good sweet corn has plump and even kernels
When buying sweet corn, you want the one that will make you salivate just by looking at it. You will agree with me that sweet corn with plump kernels is the best to any corn buyer. Buying an externally good looking sweet corn only to find sparsely distributed and uneven kernels on the inside can be heartbreaking. Therefore, it is very important to determine the state of the kernels.


When shopping for sweet corn, most people have a habit of peeling off the husk to take a peek on the kernels. The habit is not only unhygienic but irritating to other sweet corn buyers. To determine whether the kernels are plump, you do not have to peel and peek. You can feel through the husk for plump and even kernels.


Another very frustrating encounter in sweet corn is worms. When buying, it is advisable to examine the husk and the shank for very tiny brown holes. Corn earworms tend to bore very tiny holes in the husk and on the shank eventually ending up inside the kernels. If you are not a careful sweet corn buyer, you might have devoured a couple of these worms.


To avoid buying a sweet corn infested with pests, do a thorough examination on the husk and the shank of your sweet corn. Always remember that freshness is the key to the sugary taste of your corn, and you do not have to be a rocket scientist to determine it. The days of peel and peek in sweet corn examination are long gone given that there are other more efficient ways.

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