First, I want you to know that I absolutely love corn on the cob and grew up eating it often when it was in season. We lived near a small farm and could buy it fresh off the stalks. We each got 2 to 3 ears of corn for dinner, so for a family of 7 that was quite a few ears. Mom would dump the pile on the picnic table and we would all help chuck it.
It was delicious, especially the way my mom made it. She would take a few of the inner husks to put on the bottom of a large pot, add about a 1/2 inch of water and pile in the corn nicely stacked criss-cross on top of each other. Then she would bring the water to a boil and steam the corn for 5 minutes. It was cooked to perfection and so much tastier than the boiled version.
Unfortunately, the corn from my childhood is not the same as corn today. You need to be discerning when looking for healthy corn. Here’s why:
- Genetically modified (or GMO) corn was introduced in the late 1980s. Even though “sweet” corn is not typically considered a GMO crop, corn can easily be cross-pollinated up to a 15-mile radius, so there is lots of cross contamination even in organic crops.
- Corn is also a crop highly sprayed with “pesticides,” both GMO and regular corn. And because years of spraying have created super weeds, it usually means more than one type of chemical. Farms will often use the herbicide glysophate (Roundup) in addition to other nasty chemicals. (Before GMO corn, chemicals were spray on the ground to the sides of the crops. GMO crops were created to be able to spray the whole field, including the corn plants themselves, making the crop that more toxic.)
- Even organic corn is questionable since corn is also a high mold crop. If it sits around too long, like being transported across country to the grocery store, it can become tainted. (Grain bins that store corn for other uses are additionally sprayed with chemicals to reduce bugs and mold.)
- Corn has become a high-allergy food for many. It has always been hard to digest (hence the kernels you often see in your stool). Now that it is more often genetically modified, sprayed with more chemicals, and has a greater chance of getting moldy, more and more people are reacting to it even if they do not realize it. Corn can cause obvious allergy and digestive symptoms. It can also compound other existing health issues. (For me, GMO corn makes me extremely tired, where I can barely get out of bed the next day even after a good night’s sleep.)
My body can tell it is not an optimal food. That is why my family sticks to healthy corn that is in season from a quality farm that we trust. The rest of the year we avoid eating corn, popcorn, or anything with corn in it. (We read ingredients carefully.)
Instead, we treat ourselves a couple of times a year when this one local farm I trust sells their fresh organic sweet corn on the cob. They pick it the day I buy it at the farmer’s market. I steam the corn just like my mom did. We also roll the warm cooked ears in a block of cold butter* and add Himalayan salt, just like I did when I was a child. Delicious!
Hope you can find your own quality source of healthy corn on the cob! Find a local organic farmer and ask lots of questions based on the information above.
* We are a dairy-free family, but we can tolerate good quality butter like this one (or raw farm butter).