July aprons ready! Fresh corn is upon us.
Many people look forward to the month of July for different reasons, whether it’s the warm weather, vacation time, or the wide availability of fruits and vegetables. Although I always look forward to warmer weather and family vacations, one of the vegetables I thoroughly enjoy every July is corn, more specifically corn on the cob.
One of the reasons I cherish corn is because I grew up with my family growing and selling their own corn at our local farm market, Wagner’s Farm Market. Not only do we grow and sell it, but we make a celebration out of the harvest by hosting our annual corn roast. Every year, we invite friends and extended family to come and enjoy fresh corn, roasted over an open fire pit. In this 65-year tradition, our family also comes together to make corn chowder. Friends and family often enjoy the corn chowder with a pinch of salt or pepper and oyster crackers. My aunt also makes this on occasion for the restaurant attached to the farm market. Customers often enjoy corn chowder along with a deli sandwich.
Along with being tasty and satisfying, corn chowder can also help fill you up and be a great way to use other fresh ingredients such as potatoes, peppers, garlic and onions. Although in the heat of the summer your body may advise you against whipping up a hot soup, some research suggests that consuming a hot beverage or soup on a warm day can actually have a cooling effect on your body, making corn chowder an excellent way to cool off. The following recipe is from my family’s annual corn roast. For a healthier version, try replacing bacon with turkey bacon, using skim milk and keeping the salt to a minimum.
1 Tbsp butter
4 strips of bacon
½ large yellow onion, chopped
4 stalk celery, chopped
½ red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 ½ cups milk,
1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and diced
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 ears of sweet corn, kernels removed from the cobs (about 2 cups)
1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the bacon strips and fry until the bacon renders its fat, but doesn’t begin to brown, 3 or 4 minutes. Remove bacon and set aside. In the same pan, add the onion, celery, red pepper, and garlic and cook for 7-10 minutes.
2. Add the milk. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes. Make sure the heat is as low as can be and still maintain a gentle simmer to prevent scalding the milk on the bottom of the pan.
3. Raise the heat, add the potatoes, salt, and pepper and bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are almost fork tender.
4. Meanwhile cut the bacon into small pieces and add into saucepan.
5. Raise the heat, add the corn and bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Recipe derived from: http://www.simplyrecipes.com.
Rhianna Wagner is a summer intern with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County. Rhianna is a dietetic intern and graduate student at The State University of New York at Buffalo majoring in nutrition. Rhianna grew up in Niagara County. Cornell Cooperative Extension is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities and provides equal program and employment opportunities.