Corn is a popular side dish and can be cooked in many different ways. However, many corn farmers and gourmets around the world are aware of how delicious this vegetable is without being cooked at all.
Sweet corn can be eaten raw as long as the corn kernels are ripe. Sweet corn is usually eaten raw off the cob mixed into salads, salsa, and other fresh dishes. Raw corn is healthier than sweet corn because it retains nutrients otherwise destroyed during the cooking process.
Raw sweet corn can be a wonderful addition to the summer table. You need to know how to prepare it correctly to get the most out of this crunchy and refreshing vegetable. Read on to learn how to prepare raw sweet corn for a meal and what makes it healthier than cooked corn.
Raw corn is completely edible, so if you don’t like the cooked version you should still give it a try. Cooked corn has a very sweet flavor because the sugars in the corn are caramelized through the cooking process. Raw corn has a more mild, milky sweet flavor. The mild flavor of raw corn makes it a perfect addition to other raw meals like salads and salsas.
Raw corn is safe to eat since it is edible without cooking. If you’re eating corn directly out of the garden, it’s a good idea to make sure that the corn is thoroughly washed before eating to make sure that it hasn’t been exposed to insect pests or insecticide.
To make sure that raw corn is safe to eat out of the garden, follow this method of sanitizing it for the table:
- Pull the husks off the raw corn. These leaf wrappers for the cob should come off easily. If you like, these husks can be saved for other culinary uses, such as wrappers for tamales.
- Remove the corn silk from the corn. Corn silk consists of the silky strings of connective vegetable fiber between the corn kernels and the outer husk. Corn skill can be removed from raw corn by using a small vegetable brush or toothbrush. Clean the corn cobs until all corn silk has been removed.
- Wash the corn. Before serving, the corn should be washed thoroughly to rinse away any potential debris or residue from garden chemicals. (Note: It’s best to use organic corn for raw corn dishes since corn can easily absorb pesticides.)
Once the raw sweet corn has been thoroughly washed, it is ready to cut off the cob and serve!
Raw corn is digestible, but not very digestible. Raw corn does contain nutrients, vitamins, and vegetable sugars that can be digested by the human body. However, it also has a high amount of cellulose.
This insoluble fiber is not digestible by the human body, which is why you may see corn in your stool after eating it.
The best way to make raw corn more digestible is to chew it thoroughly before swallowing. This breaks down the cellulose in the cells of the corn and makes it easier to digest.
Raw corn is generally considered healthier than cooked corn. Many of the vitamins and essential minerals in raw corn are destroyed by the cooking process, even at relatively low temperatures. Eating corn raw makes these nutrients more bioavailable than cooked corn.
To get the best out of preparing raw corn for eating, you’ll need to use corn that is young and tender, but that has already ripened. It’s a fine line between choosing corn that is too young and choosing corn that is too old.
Corn that is too young will not have the sweet taste you’d expect from corn because it hasn’t had enough time for sugars to develop in the kernels. Corn that is too old for raw sweet corn will be tough.
Here’s how you can tell if your raw sweet corn is ripe for serving:
- Poke one of the corn kernels. If the liquid that flows out of the kernel is clear, the corn isn’t ripe yet. If the liquid that flows out of the kernel is a milky, semi-transluscent color, this is a sign that the corn is ripe and has developed the sugars necessary to make it taste good. If it’s completely opaque, the corn is too ripe to be served raw.
- Check the corn silk. On each cob of corn, the tuft of cornsilk at the top of the corn stalk starts out as a light blonde color, then darkens throughout the season. Once the cornsilk begins to darken into a brown color, this is an indication that the corn is ripening.
- Take a bite. Since raw corn is safe to eat, you can take an experimental bite of corn to see if it’s ripe yet. If one cob of corn is ripe, chances are the rest of it is also ready to pick if you planted it all at the same time.
After you determine that your raw corn is ripe for serving, serving it is as simple as carving the kernels off the cob and mixing them with whatever seasonings you prefer (if any). Raw corn provides great texture and color when used with other raw dishes such as salads and salsas.
Some people even serve raw corn straight on the cob. Chilled fresh raw sweet corn can make a great contrast to grilled meats and other summertime meals.
If you’ve never had sweet corn raw before, take a chance this season and try some for yourself. Serving corn raw can save you some serious cooking time in the kitchen.
Prepare raw sweet corn in a salad or salsa for some fresher options at the table. Prepared right, raw sweet corn is a seasonal treat that will be both delicious and nutritious for your guests!