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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 OP...it'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.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_...

            1. re: jujuthomas

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

              http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfi...

                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:

                            http://www.textbooks.com/BooksDescrip...

                            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"....no. 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.

                                                https://www.google.com/search?q=sweet...

                                                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

                                                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_corn

                                                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgen...
                                                        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: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/GMO

                                                          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.

                                                      1. re: galleygirl

                                                        Interesting. That makes it less sweet? I also find corn on the cob way too sweet. I eat it in salads mixed with bitter greens and a tart dressing, which balances it out. I'll have to try just using it raw. That would certainly be easier!

                                                        1. re: maillard

                                                          I find cooking it intensifies the sweetness, so I go raw; you can still sprinkle with salt!
                                                          I go with the salad thing, too, esp with tomatoes, basil, a pinch of white vinegar, and a sprinkle of chili powder...chopped kale optional...

                                                        2. I have felt the same way for years.

                                                          I grew up in Iowa and was forced to eat a lot of corn over the years. To the point that when I was on my own I refused to eat it.

                                                          When I did start eating it again I was pretty shocked at how sweet it was.

                                                          I didn't really taste like corn.

                                                          And it's only gotten worse.

                                                          I even find the corn from the Copley FM on the sweet side.

                                                          And never sugar in the water !!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                                            I also think that modern sweet corn is too sweet with very little corn flavor. I grew up in rural central Ohio and we always had a large garden. I miss the Iochief, Golden Cross Bantam and Illini corn that I grew up on.

                                                          2. The Monsanto hybrids were developed for American tastes- thin-wall kernels, high moisture content, sweet. Most like it. By contrast, in Mexico, where 53% of daily caloric consumption is corn tortillas, the Monsanto hybrids are not suitable for tortilla making. If you were to try the tough, dry,somewhat flavorless thick-walled kernel corn that is typical in Mexico you may appreciate American sweet corn more.
                                                            On the plus side for Mexican corn, it is not resistant to the huitlacoche fungus, which has become somewhat of a delicacy in the U.S., where huitlacoche eradication has been underway for decades.

                                                            1. You can sometimes get field corn at farm stands. Which, for anyone who hasn't tried it, I heartily recommend doing so at least once. It's tougher and starchier, but when picked at its most tender/sweet it's delicious and just has a hint of sweetness.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: antimony

                                                                This right here I can agree with. We buy it from the same three or so stands every year and when they have field corn that's fresh it's the way to go if you're tired of the sweet varieties. It has to be fresh, and no, we don't ask if it's GMO. We've been buying it for YEARS. My Dad prefers field corn when it's fresh and I kind of agree with him when it comes to soaking and grilling it in the husks. Corn pudding and fried corn then I like my sweet corn and the milk.

                                                              2. Just read "Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health" which has a whole chapter on "Corn how Sweet it is". Talks all about the introduction and breeding of the super sweet corns. I do believe they gave some varieties to purchase which weren't so sweet. BTW this is interesting book on what to buy at the grocery store for more nutrients and what to look for at farmers markets and what might be good choice for the home gardener...

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: gardgen

                                                                  Thanks, Gardgen. I'll definitely take a look.

                                                                2. Plain to me means adding nothing. Sometimes even salt can bring out the sweetness in corn. My husband introduced me to plain (nothing added) corn years ago and I've never looked back.

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Isolda

                                                                    Yah I mostly go totally plain, sometimes raw myself.

                                                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                      I don't see how sweet corn with butter and salt is anything less than a perfect trinity.
                                                                      To each their own.

                                                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                        +1 for totally plain....although once in a blue moon I can't resist a throwback to childhood with a little butter which, let's face it, complements EVERYTHING. ;)

                                                                        1. re: Science Chick

                                                                          I do agree and go for the butter and salt thing once in a blue moon. I just don't crave salt very much at all, my SO can't understand it, and the butter really doesn't add that much for me.

                                                                        2. re: StriperGuy

                                                                          Ditto on plain and raw, more often than cooked.

                                                                      2. Don't cook it. Slice off the cob with bottom in a big bowl to catch it all, add to salads or make a fresh salsa with tomatoes (acid), cilantro and salt/pepper
                                                                        Or after its cooked use a squeeze of lime with the butter and salt combo and sprinkle with green onion or cilantro or basil etc

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                          Or use a bundt pan. Has made my cutting kernels off the cob so much easier!

                                                                        2. Grocery store corn is just too sweet for me period. ~ For sweet corn I raise Merit Sweet Corn....just a little sweetness. I have also grown Funks G-90 which can be good at times. ~ The rest is Pencil Cob, an old Shoe-Peg type corn with a great flavor. When it's ready you have to pull it within 2-4 days. After that it's past it's prime. It also makes the best corn meal.

                                                                          1. we've had some lovely corn this year but the batch of bicolor DH brought home the other day was just.too.sweet for me! I'm hoping it isn't a trend. :)

                                                                            1. Oh HELL no. I love love LOVE sweet corn. I could eat it until it'scoming out of my ears!

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: FitMom4Life

                                                                                Me too! Can't bet enough of it. The end of season corn has been really terrific in my area.
                                                                                I'm going nuts buying it.

                                                                              2. Oh HELL no. I love love LOVE sweet corn. I could eat it until it'scoming out of my ears! I can eat it right in the field, and have done so many times. Add butter salt and pepper...lots or pepper, and it's dish for a king!

                                                                                1. The last two years I haven't been able to find any corn that has had any corn flavor to it. I don't mind the sweetness, but when it's just sweet and no other flavor.... Blech!

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: JMF

                                                                                    That's a common problem in wet summers. Wetness means fat and flabby-tasting vegetables and fruit (good for farmers, though, who sell by volume or weight).

                                                                                  2. I find corn too sweet these days as well.

                                                                                    My solution is to slather in butter & cover in salt (after nuking briefly). Works like a charm.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                      Try the Mexican style, elote. Sounds weird but it's tasty:

                                                                                      Brush cooked, preferably grilled, corn with a very light coating of mayonnaise. Roll in grated cotija cheese, which gives you a lovely salty element. Squeeze lime juice on it, and maybe a sprinkle of cayenne or chile powder.

                                                                                      The sweetness of the corn is nicely set off by the other flavors.

                                                                                    2. Old fashioned "sweet" corn only stayed sweet started converting to starch in about 30 minutes -- leading to the old saying that first get the water boiling, then pick the corn. These are open pollinated, and really only suitable for backyard gardens.

                                                                                      Most corn that has been commercially available for a really long time (even from farm stands) is "supersweet" which is a hybrid (not GE) that is sweeter than "sweet" corn, and slower to convert to starch.

                                                                                      More recently, "sugar enhanced" corn has been grown, usually not in backyards or small scale farm stands (if grown close to other types it can cross pollinate and become starchy). This lasts for days and days without becoming starchy.

                                                                                      There is a range of sweetness in all these types of sweet corn, and it seems to me that there has been a trend to grow sweeter and sweeter corn because Americans "like" sweet. If you buy from a farm stand (or grow your own) you might choose "Supersweet" varieties that are less sweet and have more "corn" flavor. Look through seed catalogs, the descriptions will help you choose varieties. Maybe your local farm stand will grow a variety for you that you might like.

                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: dkenworthy

                                                                                        You make an excellent point, actually.

                                                                                        I bought 6 ears of corn on Saturday, thinking I'd be using them for a dinner party. Well, we had enough food as it was, so I ate them over the next following days.

                                                                                        Likely b/c they had been in the fridge for a while, the last few ears weren't nearly as sweet as corn I ate the same day.

                                                                                        Might be a good solution for LP, the OP.

                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                          Except the texture will be affected. Chewy and starchy. Still not good.

                                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                            It was neither, 3 days after I bought it. Just less sweet.

                                                                                            So... better for me.

                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                              That has not been my experience. I imagine there are several sorts of whatever corn is currently being grown around the country.

                                                                                              Does any other country go nuts for sweet corn?

                                                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                Does any other country grow sweet corn?

                                                                                                1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                  I would think that Canada does; I don't know about any others. It seems that China grows everything these days, do they probably do too. Besides, are those little baby ears of corn in Chinese food sweet corn? LOL they must grow it!

                                                                                                  1. re: Cheez62

                                                                                                    I always have trouble putting the "holders' in the ends of the mini corn.

                                                                                                2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                  I cook ALL the ears as soon as I get them home, then refrigerate and microwave-reheat the leftover ears over the course of nearly a week. I do not notice a difference in flavor that way.

                                                                                                  As to the OP, it IS true that salt brings out sweetness. You can test this with a lemon. Try a plain slice, then one that has been salted and allowed to sit for a few minutes.

                                                                                                  I prefer corn unsalted, unbuttered, and lightly steamed (before shucking) via the microwave.

                                                                                          2. One of my local grocery stores is carrying Amaize sweet corn this year, which is a relatively new naturally bred white corn. It is way too sweet for my taste, but I do like Brentwood bi-color or yellow corn. I find that most white corn varieties don't have much corn flavor.

                                                                                            1. The sweeter the better for me. That said, try finding "mirai" corn. It tasted like real corn and its sweetness factor is lower than the usual suspect these days.

                                                                                              1. Most, if not all, of the corn grown on the East end of Long Island is GMO.
                                                                                                It is sweet, I like that. It's also fast growing so that it hits the farm stands by July 4 and with staggered planting lasts until after Halloween.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. Back when I was a sprat, and we'd invented enough dirt to grow stuff, corn was still pretty much corn. The stuff you wanted to eat you picked green, or at least before the kernels had begun to dimple, and Yes, had the boiling water ready. Leave it in the field and it's fodder or seed. That was in the area where I grew up; I know there were varieties grown elsewhere (such as in my grandpa's garden) that you could pick in the morning and boil for supper, and these made the canneries and frozen-food companies happy too.

                                                                                                  As for the ungodly sweetness and loss of corn flavor, well, that's a broader trend than just corn. Try finding a peach with a decent amount of acidity anymore, and the farmer's market growers are the worst offenders.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                    Back on our farm, corn for the cows and corn for the table were two separate species. We could eat the young cow-corn ears, but they weren't as good.

                                                                                                  2. I like most corn on the cob. If it's supersweet I only rub some salt on it, if that, sometimes it doesn't even need that. We get a lot of not-so-fabulous corn here, in that case I have no problem putting lemon, lime, red chile, oregano, butter, lemon pepper, or other stuff on it. I try to roll with it and jazz it up as the individual ear I'm eating needs jazzing up, if at all. In other words, I don't hate the candy-sweet corn, I just eat it a little differently.
                                                                                                    If the corn's too sweet for you naked, try some lime juice topped with red chile. That's a good combination. Maybe a little neutral oil or olive oil, or (this would be awesome!) La Tourangelle toasted pumpkin seed oil instead of butter if you like a little schmear on it, since butter does add some sweetness.

                                                                                                    1. Grow your own? Although it's hard to find seeds for non-super sweet varieties, they still do exist. Burpee has a dwarf variety for container growing - can't report on taste yet since mine is just setting ears.

                                                                                                      Growers started breeding super-sweet varieties long before GMOs were feasible, probably because the sugars in sweet corn start breaking down into starch as soon as the ears are picked: since it now takes longer to get corn from field to table, the more sugar the longer the corn stays palatable.

                                                                                                      In my area - the SF Bay Area - white corn tends to be a little less sweet. I like mine cooked simply than rubbed with lime, or in a chowder.

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: tardigrade

                                                                                                        My 6 aunts in Canada have been bemoaning the trend towards the "sweetening" of corn ever since they left the farm my whole mum's family grew up on. The girls all left the farm in the early 1950s, so this has indeed been a long time in developing. They all grow their own vegetable patches (you can take the girl out of the farm, but...) and they make an effort to mail-order the old-fashioned varieties of vegetables (because you simply can't buy them in local stores). My aunts told me there were fewer and fewer suppliers for seeds for their preferred, less-sweet corn. They're going to have to start stockpiling seeds, I think.

                                                                                                        1. re: tardigrade

                                                                                                          For years when I was younger I grew "Early Sunglow". it matures more quickly AND (remember this?) the kernels are fat and deep yellow and so tender you can sink your teeth into them with no crunch. It is so deep that each spot needs a second bite. Unlike what I call "air freight" corn, it needs to be eaten when picked. Capitalism has ruined corn.

                                                                                                        2. Is it possible that the corn you remember from your younger days was not bred to travel long distances to supermarkets and remain sweet, thus causing the sugar in the corn to be converted to starch during travel, and therefore tasting less sweet?

                                                                                                          1. I am certainly among those who remember too well the days when corn's sweetness deteriorated rapidly, and even immediately after picking, never tasted as sweet as the current crop of enhanced sugar varieties primarily sold today. But even if today's corn has less flavor than the old types, commercial farmers could not afford to plant anything but an enhanced or supersweet variety of corn, one that will remain palatable for 24 even 48 hours. And actually it's not just a case of hybridization. Farmers in the Midwest (originally in fair competitions) found that if they sweetened the soil (i.e. added lime to raise the pH) they would also get a sweeter product and now I see farmers here in the northeast doing that as well.

                                                                                                            Personally I like mine steamed for from four to six minutes and with nothing on it.

                                                                                                            Some info on GMO foods:

                                                                                                            http://www.fda.gov/food/foodsciencere...

                                                                                                            1. If it's really fresh it will be very sweet. Maybe you're used to corn that isn't all that fresh.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: kagemusha49

                                                                                                                That's probably at the core of what is being debated here. Yes, years ago that was the case. But newer hybrids/modified corns have been engineered (either via crossing or direct genomic manipulation) to maintain the sugars so that they don't convert to starch after harvest.