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Florida Produce: Sweet Corn

November 23, 2009

Without fail, one of my favorite vegetables is sweet corn. Nothing is better than fresh Florida sweet corn. And I’m not just saying that because it’s my job either. It’s so good, that you can practically just eat it raw and it is delicious. Unfortunately, we have to wait a few more months for its peak season, but when it’s available, it is the best around.

You might not know it, but Florida is the largest producer of market fresh sweet corn in the U.S.  Sweet corn is mostly grown in the southeast and central parts of Florida. Sweet corn is available from October through June, with peak availability in April and May.

How to buy
It is best to buy fresh sweet corn with the husk still attached. Sweet corn cobs should feel and look moist and plump, with the kernels inside fat and shiny; press against the husk and you should be able to feel the kernels inside. The silk of the corn should be a little sticky and should look glossy, stiff and moist. Do not purchase sweet corn that has straw colored husks; they should be green.

Tips for storage
Store sweet corn in the husk, placed in a refrigerator or a cool dry place. Keep the ears separated during storage to prevent mold.

Cooking tips
Cook your corn as soon as you can. As corn sits, the sugars convert to starch. Steam corn for five to seven minutes or try roasting and grilling for a smoky flavor. Easily remove kernels from the cob by standing the corn on end on a cutting board and cut down the cob with a sharp knife.  Salt can make corn tough, so only lightly salt the corn before cooking, and be sure to add or serve salt after cooking.

Flavors well with
Seafood, onion, tomato, chili peppers, thyme, rosemary

Because I always like to give a recipe with each of these posts, here’s another from who else but our Chef Justin.

Creamy Corn and Jalapeño Soup
Yield 4 Servings


6 ears Florida sweet corn, cleaned
1 small onion, chopped
1 small fresh jalapeño pepper, minced (seeds removed)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
Chopped fresh cilantro
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, jalapeño, garlic and cumin; sauté until onion and jalapeño are tender, about 10 minutes. Cut corn kernels from cobs. Add corn to pot. Stir in broth. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until corn is very tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer to processor or blender and carefully purée. Add enough milk to thin to desired consistency. Return to pot; stir to heat through (do not boil). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in bowls and garnish with cilantro.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 23, 2009 5:31 pm

    When I went to Zellwood to do a gleaning for the local food bank, I snagged a few and ate them raw. It was then I realized that this corn doesn’t need much cooking. Mmmmm…

  2. November 23, 2009 11:25 pm

    Thanks for some great tips&soup recipe! I only purchase from local farms&growers. I love Florida Sweet Corn.

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