When growing up on the farm I recall every August when the sweet corn turned ripe and the time came to preserve some for the winter. Sweet corn was planted in the fields next to the field corn in rows as long as the field…there was a lot of corn. The corn was picked from the field early in the morning after chores and loaded onto the bed of the pickup truck. The truck would be stacked high with the sweet goodness; yet staring at all those ears of corn in need of being husked, brushed free of silks; blanched in hot water and all the kernels cut off each cob seemed overwhelming when I stood there looking at it.
But it was a family event in the fact that everyone had some part in the process. My brother did the picking, grandma would start the husking. Meanwhile mom and I set up the kitchen with two large pots of boiling water on the stove top, one side of the sink with cold ice water, a large dish tub with the corn knife on top and at least 100-125 pint size freezer containers and 25-50 quart size containers. And a large fan or two to keep us cool as there was no air conditioning. Everything had to be removed from the counter tops and newspaper was taped up as a back splash where the corn was being cut off the cob. It’s amazing how far a kernel of corn can travel…and stick on its landing spot forever, unless stopped before it gets there.
Mom and I would join grandma in yard under the shade tree and help with the husking. Once we had about a half dozen 5 gallon buckets full of ears, dad would carry them into the kitchen and the process would begin.
This all took place before noon, and a meal was prepared at the same time, which of course included some sweet corn. Grandpa, dad, brother, the hired hand, grandma, mom and I would gather around the table to take a break and talk about the mission ahead us along with the usual farm talk chatter about the market reports or the weather.
It was a lot of work in which the task usually lasted into the evening hours and sometimes until after the sun had gone down. But the effort put forth was certainly worth it when looking at all the containers full of fresh sweet corn stacked high in the basement freezer. Even more so in the middle of January when we enjoyed the fresh taste of corn for dinner!
I still boil fresh picked corn in a bath of hot water; however this recipe works well on the grill and gives the corn a distinctive flavor.
Roasted Sweet Corn
By The Gourmet Farm Girl
1 dozen ears of fresh picked sweet corn
10 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons Hickory Smoked Salt
Soak 12 pieces of kitchen twine cut 20 inches long in water for 15-20 minutes
Mix the salt and butter together and set aside
Pull husks back from the cob and remove the silks with hands or a soft brush; replace/ wrap the husks back around the cob; place corn in a sink full of cold water and soak for 10-15 minutes; remove and drip dry.
Pull husks back again and rub the butter and salt mixture on the kernels; wrap up once more and secure with the kitchen twine.
Place on a hot grill for 15-20 minutes till hot through. remove strings; add additional butter before eating if desired.