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Food of the month - Sweetcorn

September 2015

Here in the UK we are at the peak season for sweetcorn which should be ripening between mid August and mid September.

As with so many fruit and vegetables today, special conditions and new variations together with imports from around the world mean that we can often obtain lovely sweetcorn throughout the year; but for fresh British sweetcorn now is the time to find the best.

Also known as corn on the cob, it is important to pick sweetcorn at its peak. The natural conversion of sugar into starch in the corn is speeded up after harvest and after 24 hours many varieties have converted more than half their sugar content into starch, affecting the flavour and softness. However, new supersweet varieties stay sweet much longer after harvest.

Previous Health Foods of the Month...

Mushrooms

Rocket

Strawberries


 

Diet & Supplements Index

Waitrose Recipes

The loss of sugar slows down at lower temperatures, so if you are not eating your corn straight away, store it in the refrigerator, or cover with a damp cloth to keep cool.

Sweet corn can have a fabulous flavor and contain useful nutritional benefits too. Yellow corn contains high levels of phenolic flavonoid pigment antioxidants including b carotene, lutein, xanthin and cryptoxanthin, all useful for our well being. Corn also provides vitamin A and ferulic acid which can help in preventing cancers and inflammation.

Corn also offers some valuable B complex vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, panthothenic acid, folates and riboflavin, plus some important minerals such as zinc, magnesium, copper, iron and manganese.

You can cook corn on the cob on barbecues or in the oven. If you are boiling them, don’t add salt as that can harden the kernels. Or you can remove all the corn by scraping down each side of the cob with a sharp knife and then boil or steam quickly to add to a dish.

How you serve corn is important. The traditional way of covering corn on the cob with butter obviously diminishes the health aspects. Sweet corn is not a particularly low calorie food; in fact it is moderately high in calories compared with other vegetables – about 86 calories for 100g of kernels. However, this is lower than other cereals such as wheat or rice.

But with a unique flavor and useful nutrition, it makes sense to add corn to your menu when it fits in.

 


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