Many cooks are familiar with creamed corn as a side dish or casserole. Some even use it as an ingredient in certain recipes. The nice thing about creamed corn is you can buy it at the grocery store or easily make it at home.
If you have ever wondered what makes creamed corn so good, the answer is the corn itself. It isn’t the cream/milk used nor is it the butter or sugar. Really good creamed corn recipes start with sweet corn. Luckily, sweet corn is available in a few mediums.
When shopping for corn on the cob, the fresher the better. The reason you want to pick out the freshest corn possible is that the older corn gets, the less sweet it becomes. There are a few ways to tell the freshest and sweetest corn.
The first is by looking at the husk. You want a nice green husk, not brown! Another way to tell is by picking up the corn and see how plump it looks and feels. One more way to tell is by how much silk is on the corn. The more silk, the better the better the corn.
The next best thing to buying fresh corn is to buy frozen. It does pay to read the packages of frozen sweet corn before buying one. Some have extra sodium and preservatives that you may not want.
You may end up paying a little more for quality frozen corn but it is worth it. If you are a thrifty shopper and think all frozen corn are the same, think again! Sometimes name brands don’t mean anything except higher prices, but there are exceptions to that rule. Frozen corn is one such exception. If in doubt, buy two kinds; one cheap and one more expensive. Make your creamed corn from each kind and see which tastes better.
Just for the record, canned sweet corn can be pretty good. Again, it depends on brand and personal preferences. When shopping for canned corn, check out the sodium content. Many companies pack their vegetables in water, preservatives and sodium.
Some no name or store brands have pretty good quality canned vegetables and others might fall a bit short. You may have your preferred brands or have to try a few different kinds to find the right one for your creamed corn masterpiece.
As any cook who makes homemade creamed corn knows, it takes the right kind of corn to get the desired sweet flavor. If the corn is not sweet, it doesn’t matter how much sugar you add to the recipe, it just won’t taste quite right.
A word about black pepper
Once you have chosen the perfect sweet corn, cream/milk, butter and sugar for your creamed corn, you might consider adding a dash of black pepper to the mix. Some may find that buying the whole peppercorns with the built in grinder to be especially pleasing to the palette.
Black pepper just adds something special to the taste of creamed corn. Not everyone likes black pepper, but it might be worth a try once. There is something to be said about anything that has a sweet and slightly spicy flavor.
There you have it, the secret ingredient in creamed corn! Okay, maybe it wasn’t such a big secret but none the less important to know.