Sweet corn

Corn or maize came from the American continent but is now grown throughout the world.

In grain form, maize is the staple diet for American Indians in Mexico, Peru and Southern North America. A sweet version of maize was developed, resulting in the name sweet corn, and it became a popular fresh vegetable in the 1960s. Several varieties are available; some with white kernels and others with a mix of yellow and white kernels. Varieties differ in sweetness, and recently super-sweet varieties have become available.

What to look for

Choose sweet corn with fresh green husks and soft yellow to light brown tassels - the darker the tassels, the riper the sweet corn. The kernels should be plump, pale and tightly arranged. The kernels darken as the sweet corn matures. Varieties vary in sweetness and colour – yellow and white and sometimes bi-coloured. There is no consistent relationship between colour and sweetness, but the darker the colour the greater presence of carotenoids.

Availability

January, February, March, April.

Store

Refrigerate in plastic bags and use as soon as possible.

How to prepare

Remove husk and tassels, trim ends, cut as required. Boil: place the cob in boiling water and by the time the water has returned to boiling the corn will be cooked. Overcooking makes the corn kernels tough. Grill: wrap corn in aluminium foil blanch and refresh first. Barbecue: leave husk on. Microwave: leave husk on, and depending on the microwave's power, each cob takes 2-3 minutes on 100%. Cool before removing the husk and tassels. Kernels: To remove kernels from a raw or cooked cob, use a sharp knife to carefully cut off the kernels and use in salads and other savoury dishes.

Ways to eat

Eat cooked on the cob or stir fry kernels with a little butter or oil. Use kernels in corn fritters, or add to salads.

Cooking Methods

Boil, steam, microwave, grill, stir fry (kernels).

Nutrition

SWEET CORN
Kernals on cob, boiled, drained
Nutrition Information
Serving size:  ½ cup 87g
  Average
Quantity
per serving 
% Daily
intake per
serve 
Average
Quantity
per 100g 
 
Energy (kJ/Cal) 464/110 5.30% 533/127  
Protein (g) 3.53 7% 4.06  
Fat, total (g) 2 2.90% 2.3  
 - saturated (g) 0.28 1% 0.32  
Carbohydrate (g) 18.1 5.80% 20.8  
 - sugars (g) 1.39 1.50% 1.6  
Dietary fibre (g) 2.7 9% 3.1 Contains dietary fibre
Sodium (mg) 0.87 trace 1  
Selenium (µg) 0.148  trace 0.17  
Vitamin C (mg) 7.83 19.6% RDI* 9 A source of vitamin C
Niacin (mg) 1.86 18.6% RDI* 2.14 A source of niacin
Thiamin (mg) 0.174 15.8% RDI* 0.2 A source of thiamin
Folate (µg) 26.97 13.5% RDI* 31 A source of folate
Potassium (mg) 243.6   280 Contains potassium
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.139 8.7% RDI* 0.16  
Vitamin E (mg) 0.78 7.8% RDI* 0.09  
Zinc (mg) 0.87 7.2% RDI* 1  
Iron (mg) 0.78 6.5% RDI* 0.9  
Riboflavin (mg) 0.069 4% RDI* 0.08  
Vitamin A Equiv. (µg) 22.96 3% RDI* 26.39  
Calcium (mg) 3.48 0.4% RDI* 4  

Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ 
Your daily Intakes may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs. 
*Recommended Dietary Intake (Average Adult)

Source: The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 10th Edition, Plant & Food Research - 2014

Sweet corn is a good source of carbohydrate and contains a range of nutrients, especially B group vitamins. It is a source of vitamin C, niacin, thiamine, folate and contains dietary fibre plus  a dietary significant amount of potassium.  Phytonutrients include carotenoids,lutein and zeaxanthin, which are of particular interest due to their association with eye health.  Phenolic compounds, namely phenolic acids, are also present.

Retailing

Sweet corn is highly perishable. Display under refrigeration. Buy quantities that can be sold quickly. Do not remove the husk, except perhaps one or two for display, as this provides good protection from dirt and dehydration. Prepack in plastic bags. Use QR code on labels.

Store at 0ºC with a relative humidity of 90-100%. sweet corn is ethylene sensitive so store separately from ethylene producing fruit and vegetables.

Purchase sweet corn with the New Zealand GAP logo.

Recipes

Funny face salad
Funny face salad

These are as much fun to make as they are to eat. View Recipe

Potato and sweet corn kebabs
Potato and sweet corn kebabs

Use waxy textured potatoes so they hold together when they are cooked. View Recipe

Potato, tuna and sweet corn salad
Potato, tuna and sweet corn salad

Keep cans of tuna in the pantry, then this quick and easy recipe can be made any time. View Recipe

View more Recipes

Images

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