Corn Connoisseur

On the farm, August was always the time of year when we were harvesting corn like mad. We grew many varieties and were always trialing a few new ones each year. Basically, sweet corn all falls into one of three categories: standard-sugarsugar-enhanced, and super-sweet.
 
Standard-sugar was the earliest to mature, but had a very short harvest "window." One week, it would taste great but by the following week it would be starchy, tough, and bland tasting—cattle corn, as my Dad would say! The sugar-enhanced andsuper-sweet varieties matured a week or two later but held their sweetness for weeks.
 
The consensus amongst the family members and customers was that the sugar enhanced and super sweet varieties were, by far, superior to the standard sugar varieties. Over time, we gradually eliminated the standard-sugar varieties and grew only the sugar-enhanced and super-sweet.
 
But now the debate at the lunch table was which of the two types of corn was thetrue "King of the Cornfield."
 
I felt that the crown belonged to the super-sweet corn varieties because they were unsurpassed in sweetness, but my Dad always found them too sweet. After numerous arguments where I declared that the super-sweets were the corn kings, I eventually learned one thing—Dad was right.
 
Over time, I came around to his way of thinking and switched my allegiance to the sugar-enhanced varieties. They had plenty of sweetness yet a bit more of that "traditional" corn flavour. Besides, the super-sweets (while still outstanding) had tougher kernels that always managed to get lodged in my teeth!
 
Now, if you really get into corn growing, be aware that you may be prone to "corn snobbery." Corn snobbery is the equivalent of wine snobbery. You will know if you are a corn snob if you start critiquing the corn by variety and turning up your nose up at the standard-sugar varieties. And you are absolutely a corn snob if you ever use terms like "terroir," "tip fill," and "18 rows varieties."
 
Come to think of it, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone already has a list of corn variety and wine pairings. May I suggest a Pinot with your super-sweet? 


~Jim Hole