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Aug 19, 2013 02:18 PM

Corn on the cob TOO sweet!

Corn on the cob used to be a summer obsession and binge fodder for me. But now it's gotten too sweet, and I just don't enjoy it the way I used to. Anyone else feel this way? Anything I can do to help this problem? Maybe there's a particular type I should look for, or a particular vendor? I usually buy it at Whole Foods, sometimes Shaws.

I like it very plain: steamed with butter, salt, and pepper. I don't like to add other flavors, like chili or anything. But maybe I need to consider this option to ameliorate the sweetness? By the way, I don't own a grill, so that's not an option.

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  1. You could move to a country where most corn isn't gmo

    28 Replies
      1. re: hargau

        You have no idea if the corn in question is gmo.

        To the's called "sweet" corn for a reason...

        1. re: JayL

          Well, sweet corn is much, much sweeter nowadays than it was when I was a kid (I'm in my 40s). Today it's tough to find (here at least) varieties other than the supersweet varieties. And it annoys me. I miss the taste of corn in sweet corn.

          1. re: debbiel

            I'm in my 50's and don't find it any sweeter, but then we grew our own early corn and supersweet varieties in our gardens, so I was raised on it. I think you're probably right - you may remember 'standard' corn (yes, there's a set of corn varieties really called that) and what you're probably finding in the stores are all supersweets. You might try finding an urban farm or CSA that offers more varieties.

        2. re: hargau

          If you buy organic corn, by definition, it won't be GMO.

          1. re: dkenworthy

            Organic means that chemical pesticides and fertilizers are not used. nothing i've seen states that it means it's not GMO.


            1. re: jujuthomas

              Go to this link. Certified organic production does not allow GMO.


                1. re: dkenworthy

                  All sweet corn by definition IS a GMO.. if your are talking chemically engineered or round up ready (Monsanto) then okay.. but GMO stands for genetically altered.. sweetcorn is a cross breed which has been genetically altered from its original breed by crossing pollens with another breed of corn.. so many people would do some great good by visiting a local farmer and learning the truths about what GMO is and means I stead of spreading Internet propaganda.. Learning the difference between GMO and Monsanto would be a great thing

                  1. re: nspear1176

                    Uhhh you've got your terms crossed. ALL modern food crops have been intentionally bred to improve them from the original found in nature... You probably wouldn't want to eat teosinte from which corn was derived.

                    They are NOT GMO, nor are most supersweet varieties which are hybrids (look up the term on Wikipedia if you need the definition).

                    The difference between traditional selective breeding, hybrid or otherwise and genetically modified is significant even if actual GMO food crops are not necessarily dangerous.

                    GMO means that individual genes were modified and inserted into the organism in question. Genetic modification is done in a lab, selective breeding, hybrid or otherwise is not, though very recently (last 10 years or so) some lab-based techniques have been used to accelerate identification of desireable traits which are then bred traditionally. Whew.

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      Being from a farming family I can assure that you have your terms mixed up.. and if you believe any info from Wikipedia than I question your knowledge. . Anyone can submit info to Wikipedia. . I can go change it now ;) what you are describing is Genetically Engineered.. genetically modified (GMO) is anything that has modified.. engineered is a completely other subject.. so many people are misguided on what a GMO is.. the term is very basic ;)

                      1. re: nspear1176

                        Actually, I believe the wikipedia definition is yours, not StriperGuy's. But I agree with you that one should not rely on wikipedia here.

                        GMO means, to most everyone I have ever had a discussion with about GMOs, what StriperGuy suggests it means. If you're for expanding GMOs, it's a good idea to try to pretend it is not something new, that it is just like open pollination or hybridization. But it's not.

                        1. re: debbiel

                          If you want to stay Internet educated and spread the ignorance so be it.. if you are educated on farming you would understand that everything is genetically modified now days.. When you plant a breed 9 tomatoes for example.. on solid that housed a different breed previously.. the nutrients and genetics from the previous breed will slightly alter the make up of the new crop.. hence why same breeds of the same crop taste different from different locations.. A true biochemist would know that.. soo.. Ignorance lumps GMOs and round up ready (how the seed is listed and sold to farmers) into the same category

                          1. re: nspear1176

                            Some of the work I do is in agricultural biotech.

                            As you seem to have absolutely no idea what you are talking about I will again suggest you purchase a good book on plant genetics so that you actually use your terminology correctly here on the internet that you are bashing. This would be a great place to start:


                            If I go to a large scale commercial farm here in the USA a large part of the crop will likely be genetically engineered/ genetically modified, in particular if you are talking corn or soy.

                            The GM "Round-Up-Ready" trait has been inserted into MANY food crops. Yes indeedee, "Round-Up Ready" i.e. glyphosate-tolerant plants are mostly genetically engineered / GMO. Though with the increase in glyphosate resistant weeds the line is starting to blur. Did the weeds evolve glyphosate-tolerance on their own, or is this a case of gene transfer via pollination or even plasmid-based transfection via insect or microbial vectors.

                            Of course I am WAY over your head now.

                            At my local farmer's market, or the organic section of any supermarket, they sell some nice old school hybrids, as well as heirloom varieties, NEITHER OF WHICH are GMO by any stretch of the imagination.

                            Seriously though, read a book, take a class, educate yourself so you have some small inkling of what you are talking about.

                            1. re: StriperGuy

                              When you grow the stuff.. then talk about how it works.. I do.. many generations in.. so... Your info is moot

                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                I don't need to read a book or take a class.. it seems you have taken too many lol.. to understand basics of farming at least.. do you even live in a farming community? Those that work with it hands on and not in a book with pretty pictures can assure you that there is a clear difference in modified vs chemically engineered. . And my 4th grader can tell you what the acronym for GMO is.. and engineered is not in the acro.. but there is a reason a biochemist can't grow food without a lab.. and a farmer can ;)

                              2. re: nspear1176

                                Ummm....I *AM* a biochemist and I have to side with Striper on this one. "the nutrients and genetics from the previous breed will slightly alter the make up of the new crop" Nutrient absorption does not alter genetics. Gene expression of the existing genome, perhaps, but certainly not the the genetic make up of the organism. You can only get genomic changes during homologous recombination (or chemically/UV induced mutagenesis). This is not farming education, it is basic genetics/cell biology...sorry!

                                1. re: nspear1176

                                  Well, nspearl, I'm happy to now defer to the actual biochemists/biotech engineers on this thread--Science Chick and StriperGuy. They have done a nice job of clearly explaining why you are wrong.

                                  Note to you for future discussions: the internet has good and bad information, valid and invalid sources of education. Just like books printed on paper.

                              3. re: nspear1176

                                I work in biotech, you are WAY off base any accepted definition of GMO. Do some homework. Read a genetics text book rather than Wikipedia if that makes you feel better, but you have no idea what you are talking about

                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                  You work at biotechnology and don't understand plant genetics and how they are modified natural through soil and other plants pollen? Wow.. I question their hiring policies...

                                  1. re: nspear1176

                                    You haven't actually said anything factual to back up your weak assertions.

                                    A GMO, a genetically modified organism, is an organism or microorganism whose genetic material has been altered by means of genetic engineering. That's genetic engineering, not breeding, crosses, etc.

                            2. re: nspear1176

                              nspear, really you need to read up on this before spouting incorrect info

                              gmo is NOT the same as hybridized

                              1. re: westsidegal

                                This is nsspear's first and only thread. An interesting debut on CH.

                                1. re: debbiel

                                  unfortunate nastiness on both sides.

                            3. re: hargau

                              The sweet Olathe corn I get here in Colorado isn't GMO, but it is still sweet.

                              1. re: juliejulez

                                Olathe corn is the best I have ever had. Makes me miss Colorado. (The lamb, also..)

                            4. Not sure where you live but have tried any of the local corn? I am on the South Shore and the corn around here has been awesome. Sweet but corn sweet, not candy sweet. I think the kind my local farm grows is silver queen.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: foodieX2

                                I buy only local. I never buy it except in July and August when it's in season HERE. I'll look for the silver queen. Thanks!

                                1. re: LunarPrimate

                                  The Silver Queen is one of my faves for the very reason beings discussed here and is a very good option, but there are other varieties that are not bi color and sickeningly sweet. Some farms have developed their own varieties, and our go to is Ward's Berry Farm in Sharon near Rt 95 if you can get there. Google it. I'm fairly close so it's a no brainer, we never buy supermarket corn just from farms and FMs.

                                  1. re: Ora Moose

                                    Btw, "Silver Queen" has become a shorthand for local farmstands to mean "white corn" generically rather than the Silver Queen hybrid (which, btw, is NOT an heirloom variety) specifically. You can end up with all-white supersweet hybrids sold under that generic usage. Just a word to the wise....

                                    1. re: Ora Moose

                                      I used to see a lot of corn labeled as Silver Queen at the farm stands, but not so much any more. Maybe it was a generic term for very sweet corn?

                                      1. re: CindyJ

                                        Sliver Queen is a specific breed of corn, apparently it's just not as popular as it used to be. It's too bad because from what I remember, it was nicely sweet, but not too much, with a tender kernel.

                                        1. re: jujuthomas

                                          I saw Silver KING at the farm market yesterday. I didn't buy any, though, because my very favorite, Mirai, was available, fresh from the field.

                                        2. re: CindyJ

                                          Silver Queen is tender, lightly sweet, and delicious. It can still sometimes be found. It takes longer to mature, which makes it less desirable to grow. Plus, that stupid, extra-sweet, bicolor crap rules the land now.

                                      2. re: LunarPrimate

                                        If you are buying it from supermarkets (even WF), it probably isn't local. And corn coming from even a moderate distance (say, NJ or GA) is more likely to be a super sweet type, so that it will retain its sweetness during shipping and stocking in stores. Your best bet is to get to a farmstand and get some freshly picked, local corn. I've had some terrific ones this season so far from Wilson Farms i Lexington, and Berberian Farms in Northborough.

                                        1. re: Science Chick

                                          MB tends to source locally for sweet corn in season, FWIW. They just don't advertize that fact.

                                    2. I would advise not adding sugar to your water.

                                      2 Replies
                                        1. re: LunarPrimate

                                          A requirement for the field corn we would "acquire" on the way home from the Niles 31 Drive-in in Michigan.

                                          Another bit of instruction from my grandmother.

                                      1. Thought I was the only one in the us complains about corn too sweet! I am growing my own.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: oleeami

                                          Local corn is the best; forget about the supermarket's corn. Best if you grow it your own though.

                                        2. Corn tastes different than it used to. Even if it is going to starch, it can still be sweet. I doubt sweet corn is GMO, but probably is some hybrid that allows the kernels to remain sweet even after they began to turn to starch.

                                          And corn really tastes different in the PNW. I really prefer midwestern grown sweet corn.

                                          14 Replies
                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                            Are you sure? I have read that over 90% of corn in the usa is GMO this includes seed which local farms may or may not be using..

                                            1. re: hargau

                                              That is corn grown for grain, not sweet corn.

                                              Most modern sweet corn is highbred, supersweet varieties that stay sweet longer than the corn from say 40 years ago, but they are not GMO.

                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                There is definitely GMO sweet corn on the market. Monsanto touts it highly.

                                                How much of it is GMO? Opinions differ.


                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                  Wow, that is recent. I stand corrected.

                                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                                    Yes. News to me. I'd ask the vendor before I bought. Usually they will tell you the variety you are buying.

                                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                                      I've thought about this. The fact that sweet corn is sweeter than it used to be is not because it is GMO. The trend toward sweeter corn is decades long. The newer versions either don't go starchy so quick after picking or remain sweet even if they go starchy. These would be regular old hybrids. The GMO corn would probably reflect the current state of sweetness, not be sweeter than the norm. I'm not saying that GMO corn would taste the same as other sorts, But that the trend toward sweetness has been going on for a long time.

                                                      I think the article linked to above, recommends buying organic. Not a bad idea. But if you can find the original sweet corn, Golden Bantam, I recommend trying that. But you have to eat it right after picking for max flavor. I have no idea if you even buy Golden Bantam any more though.

                                                    2. re: StriperGuy

                                                      All sweet corn is genetically modified (GMO) sweet corn was created from a cross of pollens of different breeds of corn or genetically modified. . Round up ready or pre treated chemically seed (Monsanto) are two separate things.. just fyi

                                                      1. re: nspear1176


                                                        Sweet corn[edit
                                                        ]GM sweet corn varieties include "Attribute", the brand name for insect-resistant sweet corn developed by Syngenta.[21]

                                                        I doubt that the sweetness of most corn is due to its being a GMO product, particularly if you are buying from a small market garden, where growing GMO corn would be a major hassle. Most independent growers want nothing to do with this.

                                                        I want to assure you, as a consumer of sweet corn straight from local produce farms for over 40 years, the corn has been bred to remain sweet even after the milk in the kernels starts going to starch. But if you are worried about this ask your grower, or grocer for more info.

                                                        1. re: nspear1176

                                                          Most sweet corn is NOT GMO for a very good definition of GMO see this Wikipedia definition:

                                                          It is quite scientifically accurate.

                                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                                            Wikipedia? ? Scientific?? Lol.. you do know wikipedia is information from the general public right? I can go right now and change the definition to means or like a cat.. and it will change.. find another wealth of information like a farmer ;)

                                                      2. re: hargau

                                                        Well since about 99% of corn grown on the U.S. is field corn, not sweet corn, that 90% number of yours still works fine. Having said that, I still don't know how much sweet corn may be GMO

                                                        1. re: Cheez62

                                                          I bought some corn at a small well known farm stand in my area. They advertised it as "their own" corn and had feels within sight.. I asked if the corn was gmo, and the woman said "I dont know but i get asked that alot!" Kinda pissed me off as you would think if you were being asked a question alot about your main product this time of year that you would find out...

                                                          1. re: hargau

                                                            Well I agree, she should know. Is it possible that she didn't know what it even means? Perhaps they just "buy the seed and plant it"! I don't know if any vegetable seeds sold in small packets in the hardware store, etc. are gmo, but I have to admit that I have never checked the packets I buy to see if I am planting such. Granted, this is just my own small garden, and I am not selling anything. But I don't know!

                                                            1. re: Cheez62

                                                              No. GMO seed is tightly controlled and only marketed in bulk. You won't find it available in your seed catalogs or stands. Also, the seed is much more expensive so probably not going to sell well at retail prices. So don't worry, your garden seeds are GMO free.