As it has always been an abundant, cheap crop, corn has a legacy of sustenance throughout the history of civilization. “That which sustains life,” as it is known by Native Americans, has been a staple ingredient in many cultures.
After dining at Deuxave last week, I decided I wanted to learn more about corn, that sweet summertime grain with a vibrant history that’s had a tough time defending its reputation due to products like high fructose corn syrup.
Corn, when consumed in moderation and via healthy preparations, comes packed with fiber, potassium, and even protein. In fact, the levels of insoluble fiber are high enough to help aid with common digestive problems. The vibrant, yellow color of corn is also an indicator of the high levels of Vitamin A and C, as well as folic acid and carotenoids – powerful antioxidants linked to cancer prevention.
One concern with corn is that it is often mistaken for a vegetable, and thus indulged in as one. As a grain, corn is high in starch, calories, and carbohydrates – so be discerning when you’re consuming this product. It makes a wonderful meal-base because of these properties, but when it is mistaken for a sweet, buttery side (think creamed corn, or corn on the cob), it can have disastrous diet effects.
Besides simply preparing and eating the kernals, cornmeal is a wonderful byproduct of corn, made by grinding the kernals and removing the germ. Depending on the courseness or fineness of the grain, it can be used to make cornbread, pancakes, and a variety of other dishes, making it particularly useful for people leading a gluten-free lifestyle.
Polenta is one of those foods that I love to order, but have never wanted to take the time to make. Typically, when you order this cornmeal dish at a restaurant, it’s loaded with cheese or cream, sometimes even oil, and suddenly that tempting “healthy” side has a higher calorie and fat content than the main meal. That’s why I’ve decided to stay in and make this dish myself, forgoing the creamy extras and getting that extra flavor, instead, from a Zesty Peach and Corn Salsa.
Join me later when I say so-long to summer with these delicious corn recipes, all combined into one little bite.
Until then, I’m off to prepare another little bite!