August and early September are THE two best months to enjoy the best sweet corn Michigan farmers have to offer.
We’ve all been enjoying Michigan sweet corn for about a month and a half now, and each pick, week after week, has been getting sweeter and sweeter.
As growing seasons go, this year’s crop will not be exceptionally large, but what it lacks in volume is more than made up for in quality. I’ve made it a point to pick up a half-dozen ears each week, and by the end of this month, when our local corn is the sweetest and cheapest, I’ll be doing my annual purchase of two crates.
My routine is always the same. I husk each ear by stripping the raw kernels with a sharp knife then raking the corn milk off each one with the back side of that knife.
Once I have bowls of cut corn, I gently simmer it in batches with just a small amount of water, plenty of whole butter, freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. Once cooled, I package my corn in 1-cup portions (with the resulting corn milk butter sauce) into quart-size Ziploc® bags and freeze them in shoe box size plastic freezer containers. There is VERY little loss of quality, and if you take care to barely cook them, they’ll still be crisp and sweet.
Each year, my two cases seem to run out earlier and earlier. This year, by March, I had enjoyed the last one.
I’ve written other blogs and have even created a Nino’s flyer about sweet corn with recipes for everyone to enjoy. The links are below:
I have another one of my favorite sweet corn recipes to share with you this year:
Fresh Michigan Sweet Corn Custard (Makes Approximately 8 – ½ Cup Custards)
2 Ears Michigan Sweet Corn, Shucked
1 QT Heavy Whipping Cream
½ Cup Granulated Sugar
½ tsp Sea or Kosher Salt
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract (or Paste)
2 Extra-Large Eggs
6 Extra-Large Egg Yolks
Strip the kernels from the cobs, and while doing so, scrape down any of the cob’s juices with a knife. Cut the cobs in half, and place all into a medium-size saucepan with the cream, sugar and salt. Stir and set aside for a few hours.
After the mixture has rested, place it in a medium-size saucepan, (with the cobs still in) bring it to a boil and then immediately remove it from the heat. Transfer the hot mixture into a separate storage container or bowl, and refrigerate it until cool.
Preheat the oven to 275°F.
In a medium-size bowl, beat together the eggs, the yolks and the vanilla extract.
Discard the corn cobs from the cream mixture and then blend it until smooth with a food processor, immersion stick blender or a traditional blender.
Slowly add the beaten egg mixture to corn mixture while continuing to blend.
Strain this finished mixture through a fine-mesh sieve (or strainer) into a bowl.
Place eight 4-ounce ramekins (or custard cups) in a deep baking dish, and then divide the custard mixture among them.
Add enough water to the baking dish (1 to 2 cups) to create some moisture. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for about 45 minutes, turning the dish around about halfway through the baking time to ensure even heat.
When the corn custard gently springs back to the touch, remove the pan from the oven and the ramekins from the water bath.
Lightly cover the ramekins with plastic film to prevent a skin (like a pudding gets) and refrigerate approximately 3 to 4 hours or until fully chilled.