Sweet Corn Available Year-Round

Photo courtesy of morguefile.com

Do you look forward to roadside food stands with freshly harvested corn on the cob?

Sweet corn, whether fresh, canned or frozen, is among the most popular vegetables in the U.S.

Sweet corn is a genetic mutation of field corn. That mutation allows sweet corn kernels to store more sugar than field corn.

Sweet corn contains vitamin C, iron and other nutrients. One 6-inch ear of corn has 60 calories, 0.5 grams (g) fat, 2 g protein, 14 g carbohydrate, 1.5 g fiber and 2 milligrams sodium.

Test your corn knowledge with the questions below:

  1. When was the first commercial variety of sweet corn introduced?
  1. 1779
  2. 1800
  3. 1809
  4. 1860
  1. How many pounds of sweet corn were consumed per person when consumption peaked in 1996?
  1. 23 pounds
  2. 33 pounds
  3. 40 pounds
  4. 29 pounds


Answers: 1) a. 1779 2) d. 29 pounds

Enjoy some sweet corn this season. For a change of pace, add chili-lime or Mexican-style spices to sweet corn. Add sweet corn to cornbread, muffins, salad, fritters, dips and soup. Corn often is combined with onions, peppers, tomatoes and beans in fresh salsa recipes.

Corn may be frozen easily at home, but for best quality, follow research-tested advice. See North Dakota State University Extension Service publication “Freezing Vegetables” (FN187) at www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/freezing-vegetables for corn-freezing guidance.

If you decide to can corn, remember it is a low-acid vegetable and needs to be processed in a pressure canner to ensure that harmful microorganisms are destroyed. See NDSU Extension publication “Home Canning Low-acid Vegetables” (FN173) at www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/home-canning-low-acid-vegetables/fn173.pdf for information about canning corn.

Sweet corn is one of the specialty crops that can be grown in North Dakota. Visit NDSU Extension’s Field to Fork website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/fieldtofork for more information about growing and using a variety of specialty crops, including corn.

Here’s a tasty version of sweet corn you can make on your grill at home.

Grilled Corn-on-the-Cob

1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced (optional or can substitute purchased red peppers)
1 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. fresh cilantro (optional)
2 Tbsp. chopped green onions
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. Tabasco sauce (optional)
4 ears fresh sweet corn, husked

To roast bell pepper, place on baking sheet; broil in oven until blistered and charred. Put in heavy plastic or paper bag; seal; let sit for 20 minutes. Peel skin; don’t worry about removing all the charred parts. To make pepper seasoning in a blender or food processor, combine the red pepper, butter, green onions and cilantro, if desired, and add salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce. Place each ear of corn in the center of a piece of aluminum foil, shiny side up. Coat each ear with a quarter of the pepper seasoning mixture. Wrap the foil around the corn, making sure the ear is well-sealed by the foil. Refrigerate until ready to grill. Preheat grill. Place corn on grill near the edges or cooler areas. Grill until tender, turning frequently, about 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully unwrap the corn and serve.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 130 calories, 5 grams (g) fat, 4 g protein, 21 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber and 170 milligrams sodium.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., is a professor and food and nutrition specialist with the NDSU Extension Service.