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Seasonal recipes - sweetcorn!

It’s that time of year again when the long days of Summer have come to an end and the nights are starting to draw in as we head into Autumn. However, not all is doom and gloom, with the arrival of Autumn we are also seeing all sorts of great seasonal veggies hitting the shelves.

Sweetcorn

There is nothing like the taste of fresh sweetcorn and it really is something that benefits from being cooked and eaten as soon as possible after harvesting. From the moment it is picked its sweet sugars start to turn into starch (so if you can, try growing it yourself)!

Not only does sweetcorn taste fantastic but it also provides you with a healthy dose of two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamins B1, B6 and C, and is a great source of fibre.

Storage

The best thing to do with sweetcorn is eat it straightaway but it can easily be kept in your fridge for up to five days. The key is to not let it dry out. If it is still in its husk, store it as is at the bottom of your fridge. If the husk has been removed, wrap it in a slightly damp tea towel or place in a plastic bag before storing.

If you have a lot of sweetcorn then you can always freeze it. Before you freeze your sweetcorn you will want to blanch it. This really is simple, just bring a large pot of water to the boil (don’t add any salt as this will make the corn tough) and drop the sweetcorn into the water (with the husks removed!), return to the boil for about three minutes. Carefully remove the cobs from the boiling water and plunge them into a bowl of cold water or hold under a running cold tap – this stops the cooking process and helps the sweetcorn to maintain its colour and retain vitamins. Dry off before storage. 

You can now either wrap and seal your whole cobs of corn in a plastic bag, removing as much air as possible to help prevent freezer burn, or remove the kernels before freezing.

If you want to remove the kernels, hold the cob upright by the small end on a large chopping board and then, carefully, run a sharp knife down as close to the cob as possible (this will get easier with practice!). You will be able to split the kernels apart when you bag them. 

If your sweetcorn is well packaged it should be good in the freezer for at least nine months.

Keep it simple

Sometimes it really is easier just to keep things simple and there is nothing tastier than freshly cooked corn on the cob.

  • Remove the husks and silky threads from the corn and place them into a large saucepan, fill with water until they are covered – don’t add any salt to the water as this will toughen up the corn
  • Cover the pan and bring to the boil, cook for approximately six minutes or until tender, remove from the heat and drain
  • Simply serve with a smear of butter and salt and pepper to taste

Recipe - Sweetcorn Chowder

This is one of those fantastic meals that is easy to make and incredibly satisfying to eat. You can keep it really simple or add your own touches depending on how you feel. Remember, you can always toss in your leftovers! 

Ingredients:

Serves approx. 4

1 tbsp Olive Oil

1 Large Brown Onion – finely diced

1 Clove Garlic – peeled and finely chopped

1 Stick of Celery – finely sliced

1 Large Carrot – cut into small cubes

½ tsp Thyme

1 Large Potato – cut into small cubes

1 tbsp Flour

200g Sweetcorn – kernels from approx. 4 cobs

500ml Vegetable Stock

250ml Skimmed Milk

Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

Chives or Spring Onions to garnish – finely chopped

Optional – cooked ham, bacon, chicken leftovers, smoked haddock/cod

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the onion and garlic, gently sauté until translucent
  2. Add the celery, carrot and thyme and cook for a couple of minutes, remove from the heat before adding the four and mixing thoroughly
  3. Add the potato, sweetcorn, stock and milk, return to the heat and gently bring back to the boil stirring continuously
  4. Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook until the potato is soft (a little longer if you like the potato to start falling apart)
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  6. Serve garnished with finely chopped fresh chives or spring onion

Options – if you like you can chop up a couple of rashers of streaky bacon and add while you are cooking the garlic and onion. Alternatively, when the potato is almost cooked you can add in chopped cooked diced ham, chopped up chicken leftovers or even cut up a couple of fillets of smoked haddock/cod and cook through.

As with all soups you really are free to use whatever vegetables that you have available and to adapt the recipe to you own taste!

Recipe - Sweetcorn and Vegetable Fritters

Fritters are fantastic, they are so simple to make and you can put pretty much anything that you like into them. They are an ideal way of using up leftover veggies and they are great fun to make with your kids. These sweetcorn and vegetable fritters can be adapted to suit and can be served as a snack or make up a main meal.

Ingredients:

1 Cup (150g) Wholemeal Flour

½ tsp Baking Powder

2 Eggs

1 Courgette – coarsely grated

1 Carrot – coarsely grated

4 Spring Onions – finely sliced

150g Sweetcorn – kernels from approx. 3 cobs

½ tsp Thyme

1 tsp Oregano

Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper - to taste

Optional – crumbled feta or grated cheese

Canola/Vegetable Oil – for frying

  1. Grate the carrot and courgette into a bowl and add the sliced spring onion
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, herbs (cheese if you are using it) and eggs to the bowl and thoroughly mix to form a thick batter – season to taste
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook a small taster to make sure that you are happy with the seasoning and adjust if required. Add a couple of tablespoons of the batter mix into the pan and flatten down to form the fritter. Fry for a couple of minutes until golden brown and then flip over and cook the other side.

Great served with a salad for a healthy meal, try with a poached egg for a hearty breakfast or just eat them as they are with a dipping sauce!