Creamed Corn, a Joy of Summer

Every year I look forward to corn. My father set a standard when I was a kid that I always try to match, that being, harvesting the first roasting ears by the Fourth of July. This year I harvested our first ones on July 1.

Many years ago I had an acquaintance who was a raw foods vegan - someone who ate no meat, milk, eggs, cheese, bread or cereal. Because I was in a vehicle driving with them across two states, I had time to inquire why, and how, they cold exist only on raw foods. In my mind there was a running list of things I would have to give up were I to do that: pie; bacon; iced tea; bagels - the list was long. Then I asked him, how he could give up corn on the cob, one of the great joys of summertime. "I don't," he said, "I just eat it raw." I couldn't imagine raw corn, and without butter, but when I got back home, I gave it a try out of curiosity.
The corn I grow is a variety called, 'Incredible,' and it certainly is.
What I quickly discovered was, he was right, about the corn at least. When I pick roasting ears in the garden late in the afternoon, I absolutely have to eat at least one ear before I bring the rest into the house. Fresh sweet corn, still in the garden, is as delicious as any food on earth!

When I was a child and living at home with my parents, we always ate roasting ears, steamed or boiled, for several days. Then, when there was an ample supply of corn, my mother made creamed corn. It's a dish so good we ate it with just bread and butter and sliced tomatoes for a summer night meal. Making creamed corn takes about 45 minutes, start to finish, and I learned how from my mother. Here's her method, which I have altered slightly. First, you cut the corn kernels from the cob with a sharp knife. Then with the backside of the knife blade, scrape the milky juices from the cob.
It takes about 8 or 10 ears of corn, cut off, to make a skillet of creamed corn.
Mom's method was to cut put about 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in a cast iron skillet and heat it to medium. Instead of bacon grease I use sunflower or canola oil, about 2 tablespoons. Add the cut off corn and simmer it slowly on low-medium heat. Keep it stirred or the starchy corn will stick to the bottom of the skillet and burn. After about 10 minutes of slowly simmering and stirring, add about 1/3 cup milk, stirring well.
It's important to cook this slowly and keep adding milk and stirring.
You don't want to cook this too fast, it will burn easily. Keep it stirred from the bottom so it's not sticking - this is vital. As the corn thickens, keep adding milk, an eighth of a cup at a time, stirring it often and when it gets too thick, add more milk. Simmer slowly and in about 20 minutes, the corn will be done. I chop up 2 already-cooked bacon slices into small bits and add them for flavor, then add a bit of salt and a good peppering with black pepper and it's ready.
Creamed corn, moderately thickened and ready to serve.
The flavor is outstanding, not even remotely resembling frozen creamed corn from the grocery store and you won't recognize it as even the same vegetable as canned creamed corn. I'd rather eat fresh creamed corn than cake any day!
Everything on the plate except that one little piece of chicken, came from the garden this week. The coleslaw is from last October's cabbage, heads which have been stored in the refrigerator all winter. THIS is why I garden, this is what I look forward to every season!


Barbara The Healthy Nut said...

And those tomatoes look wonderful too! I can almost taste them. We are still waiting for tomatoes(and corn) here in the Northeast!

Anonymous said...

Makes me wish I had planted corn this spring!

Growing up back in Wisconsin, we had a much shorter growing season. Our farmers hoped the corn wold be "knee high by the 4th of July." Actually picking corn on the 4th of July would be beyond their imagination.

I've had to relearn so many things here in the Ozarks.

Up north we fertilized the lawn for the first time on Memorial Day. Here, that's much too far into the growing season. Double planting (a spring, then a fall crop) is common here. Back home we were lucky to get ONE crop a season.