Monday, August 8, 2011

Olathe Sweet Corn

It's preserving season here in the Miller Household, and today's project was local corn.

I refuse to grow corn. You have to plant a whole lot of it in a big cluster to really get much of a harvest, and my little garden just doesn't have the space for that. That, and the earwigs that inevitably take up residence on the corn stalks seriously gross me out.

But we live just two hours away from Olathe, Colorado - known only primarily for the amazing sweet corn they grow there. Such great corn, in fact, that the town of Olathe has patented the seed for this particular variety, making it illegal to grow anywhere except in Olathe. And then each summer they have a big corn festival (because Coloradans are just that cool) and they give away thousands of ears of corn to the festival goers.

What the festival goers don't eat, they sell out of the backs of trucks and in local supermarkets. In the past, I've seen Olathe sweet corn sell for 10 cents an ear. It never did get that low last year and I missed it entirely waiting for that price, so this year I bought it for 20 cents. Still not a bad price.

We started with 20 ears today - shucking, cutting the kernels off the cob, and freezing in 2-cup portions. A lot of work? Eh, sort of. But it's fresh corn, and it's local. If you aren't growing your own, it's the next best thing.

20 ears of corn took the girls and I about one hour to shuck, cut, and package. We got about 17 cups, which is the equivalent of 8 1/2 cans of corn. Total cost was $5, so there's an immediate savings there. Also consider the fact that this is frozen fresh corn, so the nutritional value is much higher. Definitely worth the hour spent working. I plan to buy another 40 ears tomorrow, and that should set us for the winter. I tend to use frozen corn mostly in soups - rarely do I serve it as a side dish for a meal, unless it's corn on the cob season. I'd also really like to freeze a couple sacks full of corn on the cob and see how it heats up - most folks say it's pretty good.

Tip: go to Goodwill and buy a new game for your children, and promise to play it with them just as soon as the corn is shucked. It's amazing how fast they can work when they want to.

Homeschool tip: purchases like these make a great math class: If corn is five for a dollar, and I'm buying 20 ears, how many dollars will it cost? If I put two ears of corn in each pot of soup, how many pots of soup can I make with 20 ears? How many ears of corn should we put up if I want to have two pots of soup each month for the next year, with two ears of corn in each pot? And so on, and so forth. It's a good way to prove the importance of learning the multiplication tables!

And so there you have it... an entire post written about corn. I must be really, really bored.

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