Sweetcorn is often confused with field corn, one of the world’s largest cereal crops which is used to make a variety of products, such as flour, cereal and polenta.
Sweetcorn has shorter leaves; the kernels are lighter in colour and slightly smaller – and, as the name suggests, they are also sweeter.
Corn cobs grow to about 20-25cm long and are cylindrical in shape. They are covered with thin, tightly overlapping leaves known as husks which are peeled off to reveal edible yellow corn kernels.
A favourite way to prepare sweetcorn is to roast or grill whole peeled cobs, then rub them with butter and eat the kernels straight from the cob. Corn can also be boiled, steamed, baked and added to dishes. Baby corn, a common ingredient in Asian cooking, is corn that hasn’t fully matured, is lighter in colour and slightly sweeter.
Despite being most well-known for its yellow colour, corn can also come in a range of different colours, such as red, pink, black, purple and blue.
Sweetcorn is grown across South Australia in the summer, as it thrives in the warmer, drier months. Pavlos Fruits, Bull Creek Organic, Patlin Gardens, W&B Hart and B&A Andonopoulos stalls sell it at Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market on Sundays from 9am – 1pm at the Adelaide Showground, Leader Street, Wayville.
W&B Hart, Bull Creek Organic and B&A Andonopoulos also trade at the Willunga Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 8am – 12.30pm. Sweetcorn will be available at the new Gawler Farmers’ Market opening on Saturday, January 30, from 8am to noon at the Gawler Visitor Information Centre, Lyndoch Road, Gawler.
An Adelaide Farmers’ Market member has shared the following recipe for roasted sweetcorn cobs with a Mexican-style spicy mayonnaise and cheese dressing.
Mexican-Style Corn Cobs
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 medium garlic clove, minced
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ cup crumbled cotija cheese or grated parmesan cheese
Small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
6 corn cobs, husks on
Place the corn, with husks on, in a bucket or deep pot or sink full of cold water. Let them soak for an hour. If the corn floats, keep it submerged by placing a heavy bowl or other heavy object on top of the corn.
Meanwhile, make the dressing by stirring together the mayonnaise, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper in a small bowl until well combined.
Place the cheese in a shallow dish that is at least as long as the corn.
Pre-heat oven to 200°C (or 180°C, fan-forced).
Drain the corn (husks still on) and place them in a roasting pan. Roast for 45 minutes then remove from the oven.
Let the corn cool until you can handle it. Peel away the husks and silk, but leave the stalk base intact as a sort of handle. If you are preparing this ahead of time, you can stop now and refrigerate the corn until you are ready to proceed.
Brush a light layer of canola oil over each cob of corn and set them on a hot grill, turning every few minutes until they are lightly charred on all sides.
While the corn is still hot, brush a generous amount of mayonnaise dressing over each cob, roll the corn in the grated cheese, and sprinkle with coriander and serve immediately.
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