Charlotte Anderson loves the taste of sweet corn, but it's the crop's simplicity that has the Lawrence resident grinning from ear to ear this summer.
"It's easy," said Anderson, who stopped by Bismarck Gardens last week for a bag filled with 13 ears. "I just microwave it four ears for a couple minutes. Turn 'em over and microwave 'em for a couple more minutes.
"That's the easiest way."
The summertime delicacy which also may be boiled, steamed, grilled or even frozen is a popular offering from late June to early August at roadside stands, area farms and downtown's Farmers Market. But the short season gives its aficionados extra incentive to act fast.
Anderson's friend, Donna Falkenstien, bought a baker's dozen bag of corn for short- and long-term satisfaction all of it based on simplicity.
Her basic recipe: Scrape off the corn from the cob with a knife, put it in a pot with boiling water, add salt and sugar "just a little," she said and wait a few minutes.
Then Falkenstien removes the cooked corn, lets it cool and transfers the golden harvest to Ziploc bags for storage in the freezer.
"Then I have corn in January and February," she said.
The remaining ears Falkenstien leaves to her husband, Joe, who barbecues the corn in the husk on the backyard grill.
"That's the easiest way," she said. "He does it all."
Mary Ross, co-owner of Bismarck Gardens northeast of Lawrence, sells as many as 500 bags of corn on a busy Saturday, even with temperatures reaching 100 degrees. The business, with a sales shed at 1616 N. 1700 Road, is expected to harvest 35 acres of yellow, white and calico sweet corn by early August.
Like many of her customers, Ross prefers to keep her corn-preparation procedures easy:
- Remove husks and silks; wash corn.
- Boil 2 inches of water in a large pot.
- Place corn in pot, cover; boil for five minutes.
- Remove corn and enjoy.
"You don't need to cover the corn with water," Ross said. "Put the lid on to steam it. That's the key."
Another key she shared: Store corn in the refrigerator until it's time to cook. Cool temperatures help keep the corn "tasty" by reducing the conversion of sugar to starch.
Ross said the reason people look forward to sweet corn season was quite simple.
"It's sweet and it's fun to eat," she said. "And it reminds everyone of Sunday dinner at grandma's house in the summer. It kinda takes us back to our childhood."