CHERYL WIXSON PHOTO

Rascally raccoons twice raid corn patch



My corn patch was truly a work of art this summer. Regal, tall stalks almost 7 feet high in a neat 10-by-12-foot patch. Five rows of 12 plants.

The variety, Natural Sweet (F1), sold by Johnny’s Selected Seeds, bore at least two and sometimes three 8-inch-long, plump ears per stalk.

Delighted with the potential bounty, I started counting my corn all the way to the bank.

We love freshly picked corn-on-the cob. Slathered with butter, dusted with sea salt and fresh pepper or basted with herbed oil and grilled, just-harvested corn is a real summer treat.

Corn also is perfect for the “cook once, eat twice” kitchen strategy. Cooked corn kernels make into delicious chowders and soups, custards, salsas and salads. And cooked corn kernels freeze exceptionally well, meaning that we can enjoy the sweet taste of summer long into the cold days of winter.

When we first started harvesting our corn patch, the ears were not totally mature and plumped out. Every day of sunshine increased the yield and fleshed the kernels to the ultimate sweetness. Then the corn started ripening even faster. And I was dreaming of 10, 20 maybe even 30 packages of freezer corn in the bank.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one watching my work of art. Just when the bi-colored golden and white ears were exceptionally beautiful and sweet was when the raccoons made a nightly raid. Knocking over the stalks, picking the tasseled ears, tasting and discarding those that were not perfectly ripe, in one night, they devastated my patch. My husband secured the plastic deer fence, only to have the masked marauders conquer it again.

The recipe for Easy Summer Grilled Corn is both easy to prepare and easy to eat. Brushing the ears of corn with an herbed olive oil takes the mess out of buttering and seasoning steamed cooked corn at the table. By wrapping the ears in foil, two to a package, they don’t roll, and cook more easily on the grill. Clean up is a snap, no pot to scrub.

The best part is that this recipe is easy to scale up for a crowd, or just for a large batch for the freezer, and the corn stays piping hot in the foil while you grill the rest of supper.

Although my days of harvesting and grilling sweet summer corn this season have quickly come to an end, I’m all ready planning next year’s crop. We really enjoyed the delicious Natural Sweet variety, both for taste and productivity. Next year, I’ll be sure to surround the patch with squash and pumpkin plants with prickly vines that discourage uninvited, nocturnal dining.

EASY GRILLED SUMMER CORN
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EASY GRILLED SUMMER CORN
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Ingredients
  • 6 ears fresh Maine corn, cleaned and shucked
  • 3 Tbsp. herb mix (Italian herbs, Herbes de Provence, your favorite)
  • ¼ tsp. garlic salts
  • 3 tinfoil strips 12 inches by 12 inches
Servings:
Units:
Instructions
  1. Clean and shuck the corn. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, herbs and garlic salt.
  2. Center 2 ears of corn on a tinfoil strip and brush each ear with the herbed oil. Fold the ends over and wrap the corn securely.
  3. Grill the corn packages over medium-high heat, turning about every five minutes or so, for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, unwrap, and let cool a bit before serving. The corn will stay piping hot for 15 minutes or more while wrapped in foil.
  4. To freeze, cut kernels from the cob and package for freezer.
Recipe Notes

Nutritional analysis per ear of corn (varies with size): 148 calories, 3.3 grams protein, 19 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams fat, 60 mgs. Sodium, 2 grams fiber.

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Cheryl Wixson
"Maine Dish" columnist Cheryl Wixson lives and cooks in Stonington. Her passion for organic Maine products led to the creation of her business, Cheryl Wixson's Kitchen. She welcomes food-related questions and comments at [email protected] or www.cherylwixsonskitchen.com.
Cheryl Wixson

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