The corn is ready, and I'm ready for the corn.
We love the stuff, on the cob or off.
Growing up on a farm, when the corn was ready, we launched into high gear. Corn my father didn't share with co-workers was eaten at home or processed for the freezer.
Whether blanched, boiled, fried or stirred into fritters, cornbread or succotash with onions and those butter beans also from our huge garden this time of year, corn was a constant in our rural diet.
Eating corn on the cob, I sometimes think of a typewriter carriage moving across the page then returning to pick up the next few rows. Perhaps the arrangement of the kernels on the cob lends to this approach of eating corn. It makes me wonder if a younger, more computer-friendly generation will understand the connection.
I can say from experience growing corn that raccoons can be organized in the way they can devour a patch of corn. They are efficient, too, going through an entire garden-size stand in one night. Those little hands of theirs can shuck corn and get to those golden kernels the second that corn is perfect for picking.
There are some ways of separating the corn from the cob that make for easier cleanup. In many recipes, it is nice to have the corn milk along with the kernels. You can do this before or after blanching. Blanching is a must if you plan to freeze the corn, but cutting it away from the cob enables you to store it using less freezer space than leaving it on the cob.
You can use any good sharp knife to cut the corn away from the cob, but I prefer using the small bird's beak knife. The curve of its cutting edge makes it easy to go around the cob in downward strokes while holding the corn upright on end. Work inside a large bowl to keep the splatters in check. Once the kernels are separated, you can take the back of the knife and, holding it at a 45-degree angle from the cob, run the blade down the ear to “milk” the extra sweet corn milk from the cob.
We don't butter good sweet corn in our house, as the kernels are packed with flavor on their own. But if you plan to grill the corn, you will want to brush it with olive oil or butter to keep it moist as it cooks.