Unexpected backyard sweet corn. Truly a'maize'ing.

It's not often I get to make a corn pun, so I went with it. Overused? Certainly. Funny? Maybe. Are you all ears? I hope so.

Corn, first domesticated from the indigenous peoples of Mexico around 10,000 years ago, comes from the Native American word meaning "sacred mother" or "giver of life" as corn has, and is, a dominant crop here in the United States.

Throughout my three decades of life, we never tried to grow any corn because we:

A. don't have much space

B. usually buy farm-fresh corn on Long Island at 4 ears for a dollar

but we decided this year to give it a try and see what happened. What you see above (and what you'll see below) are the results from planting nearly two dozen seeds. We were able to get 6 plants to fully mature, and boy have they grown. The last we measured, they are over 9 feet high and over the past couple of weeks have begun rapidly producing ears. I look forward to their steadfast placement on my hot grill.

Sweet corn is harvested early (prematurely) before the sugars turn into starches, resulting in, you guessed it, a sweeter flavor than its other corn varieties.

With thousands of uses for corn, (from food and fabrics to batteries and alcohol) we will be using ours the most common suburban way; grilled 'on the cob'. It's a great addition to summer salads with cucumbers and tomatoes, as well, and also adds a great charred flavor to homemade salsas and soups.

Freakishly large corn-enstein in all its glory.

Corn salsa recipe!


  • 1/2 small poblano chile pepper, seeded

  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears)

  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (I hate it, but to each his own)

  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar


Preheat your grill to medium high (400°).

Brush your poblano with about 1 teaspoon of olive oil and grill, HUSK ON!, until charred but still firm, roughly 7 minutes. Set aside to cool and then peel and chop. For a tip on cutting corn from the cob, check out this helpful video.

Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add your corn and cook until tender, for about 3 minutes; drain.

Mix your corn, poblano, jalapeño, cilantro (gross) and red onion in a bowl. Stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, the lime juice, sugar (if you want to sweeten things) and 1/2 teaspoon salt.