Fourth of July brings to mind freedom, independence, and, of course, corn. (Okay, not really, but I’m making a grilled corn and black bean salad later today, so bear with me!) Actually, corn should be central to our Thanksgiving celebrations each year, as this was the crop that truly saved the pilgrims from starvation. I’ll definitely be giving you some recipes for “Indian Pudding” in the fall.
The best way to eat corn, in my opinion, is good ol’ corn-on-the-cob with a side of heavy duty floss. Poor corn-on-the-cob has gotten a bad rap in recent years, however, as his cousin, genetically-modified corn, has gone completely rogue, ending up in everything from ketchup to wheat bread! What up with that? Michael Pollen, one of my food heroes, has gone so far as to call Americans “processed walking corn” due to how much corn makes up our diet. Did you know a chicken mcnugget is actually 56% corn?
Most corn grown for feed or to produce high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is genetically modified and saturated with pesticides and other chemicals, and therefore bad for the body and the environment. The run-off from the “Corn Belt” has created a dead zone the size of New Jersey in the Gulf of Mexico, where nothing can live due to depleted oxygen levels and pollution. This is disturbing, to say the least!
Sweet corn –the kind of corn on the cob we pick up at our local farmer’s market and grill or steam to perfection — is usually not genetically modified. (But don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet. I read recently that many farmers are starting to use Monsanto sweet corn seeds, so this may change. To make sure, buy organic and very fresh.)
Don’t believe the nasty rumors. Corn is not bad for you! Like most foods in their natural form, corn is high in fiber (4 grams) and other vitamins that are supposed to help keep your vision sharp. The problem starts when we slather said corn cob in six pads of butter, a scoop of Parmesan, and roll it in a vat of salt. Get a hold of yourself!
So, happy 4th of July, my friends — and enjoy your corn responsibly. 🙂
Grilled corn and Black Bean Salad
- 1 cup brown rice (or quinoa)
- 1 bag frozen sweet corn, or about 3 corn cobs, kernels removed (unless you want to serve up a very interesting salad)
- 1 can organic black beans
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 avocado, cubed
- 1 red onion, sliced finely
- 2 T. fresh chopped parsley (or cilantro, which tastes like soap to me)
- Dressing: olive oil (4ish T.), 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (1 lime), 1 t. cumin, salt and pepper, squeeze of fresh orange juice, and 1/2 cup salsa (chipolte, optional)
Directions: Mix up all ingredients in a patriotic bowl, and add dressing. Yummilicious!