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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Corn Mania: Avocado & Corn Chowder And Corn Cob Jelly

We took a break from the podcast to record some new recipes and interviews, but we’re back in the saddle celebrating one of the last reminders of summer - corn.

Ears Of Corn

Photo: stevelyon (Flickr)

Is corn the new gold standard for agricultural commodities?

Is Corn The New Gold?

Before we start cooking, let’s get the scoop on corn plants.

Even though corn growers in the Midwest planted more acres this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says yields have been hurt by droughts in some places and floods in others. The Department’s revised forecast sent commodity prices soaring because demand for corn and other grains seems to be insatiable.

This flurry of high corn prices has traders flocking to the commodity, in some ways treating it like the new gold. Traders are speculating on corn prices well into 2013, and there are some bets on corn futures even further out. Money in corn futures is five times what it was in 2004, according to numbers from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. That’s a nearly $2 trillion market for corn alone.

According to Iowa State University economist Chad Hart, national corn yield won’t be enough to meet demand. Demand from the ethanol industry, livestock feed and export market continues to outstrip predictions and that’s why grain prices have soared.

“When you look last summer, we had corn prices in some cases down around $3.50 a bushel, now we’re up in $6, $7 range, so we’ve seen nearly a doubling of prices over past 15 months,” Hart says.

More: Read more at Harvest Public Media.

Corn And Avocado Chowder

corn kernels being dropped into avocado soup

Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

Chef David Wade says this is a rich dish, so you only need a small portion.

Corn And Avocado Chowder

Ingredients

  • 3 large ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or more
  • 1/4 cup minced scallions
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, plus 6 sprigs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or ground red pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

Cooking Directions

  1. In batches in a food processor, puree the avocados, chicken stock, scallions, lemon juice, cilantro, 1 teaspoon of the salt and the cayenne.
  2. Pour into a soup tureen or large pitcher and stir in the heavy cream just before serving.
  3. Slice kernels off fresh ears of corn.
  4. In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the corn kernels, cumin and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until fragrant and golden brown (about 5 minutes) stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove from the heat and garnish each serving of soup with 2 tablespoons of the toasted corn and 1 sprig of cilantro.

Mexican-Style Grilled Corn

Grilled Corn With Mexican Creama

Photo: Megan Meyer/WFIU

Chef Bob Adkins says the Mexican Creme is "a good all-purpose sauce that would be great on any number of vegetables or on fish or poultry.”

Mexican-Style Grilled Corn

Ingredients

  • 4 ears corn, husked
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup chili paste
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lime wedges
  • grated cheese
  • cilantro
  • red pepper coulis or Pico Guapo

Cooking Directions

  1. Steam ears of corn before placing them on the grill.
  2. Grill corn until slightly caramelized.
  3. Whisk together cream, mayonnaise, chili paste, parmesan, lemon zest, and salt and pepper.
  4. Garnish with lime wedge, cheese, cilantro, and Pico Guapo.

Corn Cob Jelly

Now that we’ve eaten all the kernels off the corn, time to address the cobs. And no, we’re not just going to throw them in the compost.

“You can make something with almost anything,” says Chef Daniel Orr. This Corn Cob Jelly certainly proves that!

The finished product can be spooned over sliced pears, served with Grandma’s Buttermilk Biscuits and used as a replacement for apple jelly on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Corn Cob Jelly

Photo: Sarah Kaiser/WFIU

The jelly is served with two of Chef Daniel Orr's Grandma's Buttermilk Biscuits.

News Stories In The Podcast:

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

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  • CEC

    The corn cob jelly sounds so intriguing! Did I miss the recipe link?

  • http://profiles.google.com/justin.bell Justin Bell

    +1 Where’s the corn cob jelly recipe?

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