JEFF TIEDEMAN: Corn off the cobFreezing this summer favorite allows you to enjoy it year-round.
There’s something to be said about food that is “farm-fresh.” I wasn’t raised out in the country, but my dad was, so we had firsthand knowledge of what the difference was between store-bought and “from the farm food.”
I remember getting fresh eggs from Dad’s cousin (on the Tiedemann side), Fred Teal, of rural Euclid, Minn. Sometimes, we would go out to the farm to visit Fred and Irene (she was a shirttail relative of Dad’s, too, on the Goosen side) and pick up eggs. Other times, they would bring them to town. We usually got enough to share with other family and friends.
Growing up on a farm, Dad also knew about raising crops and vegetables, so we always had a bountiful garden. I’ve followed in his footsteps and have had a garden each summer for more than 30 years, growing a variety of vegetables.
Two that I don’t raise are potatoes and corn. I’ve tried my hand at both, but fighting bugs on the potatoes and having limited success with corn, it’s been just as easy to buy them at farmers markets, vegetable stands and my neighborhood Hugo’s supermarket. That’s about as farm-fresh as it gets, especially the corn, which usually is picked just before it hits the stands.
We’ve enjoyed fresh corn on the cob several times this summer. (I like it with a little butter and a sprinkle or two of salt.) It’s one of those all-American summer traditions I cherish.
Just recently, I completed my annual task of blanching and freezing about two dozen 2-cup bags of corn off the cob. (You also can blanch and freeze corn on the cob.)
Therese says she wouldn’t do this — it’s much too daunting a task. But an electric knife makes the job real easy. And I don’t think the canned variety comes close to the tasty kernels that end up in our freezer. I’m sure my grandson, Rakeem, would agree. He just loves the corn with mashed potatoes.
Corn is one of those vegetables that almost all kids like. It’s a nutritional bargain, too, a good source of carbohydrates and food energy. Yellow corn has vitamin A, and all varieties have minerals and protein (folic acid, niacin and vitamin C). Fresh corn has just 85 calories and 1 gram of fat per ear.
This summer, I prepared about half of my frozen corn a little differently. While going through one of my cookbooks recently, I discovered a recipe that a friend had given me for freezer corn. It calls for butter, half-and-half, a little canning salt and some sugar.
The recipe came from Idamae Hendrickson, who along with her husband, Ronnie, and son, Rick, sell a variety of vegetables Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays starting at 10 a.m. in the Grand Cities Mall parking lot.
The Hendricksons have been doing this for about 25 years, according to Idamae. Along with the Allard family, who operate out of the Home of Economy parking lot Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the Mekinock, N.D., truck farmers have been a source of fresh produce for generations of families in the area.
“People really like it,” Idamae said of the recipe. “There was one lady, Mrs. Ole Flaat (Lucy), who called it “company corn." She said whenever they had company, they served it.”
From the little taste of the “company corn” that I made Sunday, another tradition might be in the making.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at email@example.com.