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Sep 14, 2009 09:08 AM

Corn on the Cob Question

My family and I just got back from a vacation in MN and SD and I have a question about corn on the cob. What is COTC or "Fresh Corn" (as it was advertised out there) supposed to taste like to an Upper Midwesterner (vs. a New Englander like myself)?
I ask because the corn I had (and, now that I think about it, the COTC I have had in MN on previous visits) has always been big (large kernels), chewy, very yellow, and not sweet--in short, corn that I would normally classify as old and inedible. (This included the ear from the Corn Palce itself!) In contrast , the COTC I am used to is small kernel, white or whitish yellow, sweet, and tender-crispy.
Is this a real regional difference in what corn is supposed to be? ( I could imagine a sort of purity in having COTC that is more grain-like, vs. vegeatable-like.) Or am I just a lousy corn magnet when I visit MN?

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  1. I have never had, what I would consider to be, good COTC outside of New England..... the best coming from the Simsbury Ct. area.

    1. yeeks. what you got sounds like what my grandfather called cow corn - what he would feed to the cows.
      I'm from upstate NY originally. the COTC I've always had for eating is like you say, smaller kernel, white, yellow or mix, sweet. Never been to the midwest so can't say what their corn is usually like. :)

      3 Replies
      1. re: jujuthomas

        Our cottage is on the Quebec-Vermont border, and I've never had corn as wonderful as the stuff I get from roadside stands in Quebec. Picked that day, rushed home to an already boiling pot, just a hint of butter, and man - that's good! Here in Toronto, there used to be two local farms that grew their own corn, but they both sold out to developers (don't blame them, they probably made millions). It's hard to find fresh corn here these days.

        1. re: FrankD

          Frank. You just have to drive a little further. The Holland Landing area has lots of fruit/veggie stands.


          1. re: Davwud

            90 minute round trip from Richmond Hill. There is a place at 19th and Warden, and sometimes Southbrook has a pickup truck on Major Mac near Dufferin, but both are hit and miss.

      2. I can say that being from Chicago, and also having an S/O from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, that your latter description of COTC sounds about correct to me as far as what would be considered good. The S/O's family who reside in the U.P. all know what good cotc is and appreciate it. From my standpoint, you've simply had bad corn. It's not ALWAYS good. maybe the entire state of MN likes this fieldy corn more, or maybe the area where you vacation likes that corn more, I really don't know. I would assume, however, that you've gotten bad corn. Kinda sucks, too - we had locally produced Illinois cotc last night, and it was borderline too sweet to eat. No butter, no salt, no pepper. It was like dessert sweet.

        2 Replies
        1. re: gordeaux

          uh, no. . . we have extremely good fresh sweet corn, in season, in mn. rushed to market the same day morning as picked. so sweet, juicy and fresh you can eat it raw off the cob. i don't know where the op got her/his corn, but it doesn't sound like it was up to snuff at all. i don't buy the "regional difference" theory. i know that you don't pick corn and leave it lying around for a week and a half, though. . . there's a crapload of corn grown in mn and you can taste the difference in the soil and elevation from the corn from different farms in the summer.

          1. re: soupkitten

            I was going to say, we have family in Iowa and I've never had corn in season there that was less than stellar. This is very odd indeed.

        2. I have had excellent corn on the cob in Iowa, as well as Northern Wisconsin just this summer. Some of it has been a mix of yellow and white kernels, some mostly white. Sounds to me that you somehow got lousy corn.

          Edit - I'm wondering now if the corn I've bought is sold as "sweet corn", though it seems odd to me that a retail food outlet or farmer's market would sell corn not meant to be eaten (and enjoyed) by humans.

          1. I grew up on a farm in eastern North Carolina, and we never ate the yellow corn that made up the bulk of the crop. That was destined for the grain mill, where it would be turned into animal feed, or ground into cornmeal/grits/etc. My grandfather would always plant a few rows of Silver Queen(which was white or very pale yellow in color), and that's what we would eat ourselves.