What is baby corn?
Baby corn is the immature cob of the corn plant, it is young corn. “Baby corn comes from regular corn”. Baby corn is stunted because it’s harvested right when those silks show up — it’s un-pollinated. Those rotund, smile-sabotaging kernels we love so well don’t make a showing in baby corn, along with much corn flavor, because the sugars and flavor they bring come after pollination. You wouldn’t know baby sweet corn from baby dent corn, so it’s not made from any one type of corn in particular.
Fresh baby corn is intense before we even get it into the kitchen; it has to be harvested by hand, not by machine, in contrast to those ears of corn we’re all familiar with. Harvesting baby corn simply involves stripping the ears of corn from the stalk one or two days after the silks emerge.
The test of fresh baby corn is similar to hearts of palm. It’s always going to have a mild flavor though, for the reasons already mentioned (lack of sugar and starch, among them). Our baby corn is sweeter than the normal baby corn because our corn seeds are different.
Baby corn is a very popular addition to many Asian-style dishes, especially stir-fries, providing a mild flavor and texture touch. You can eat it raw or cooked, or you can pop the whole thing, cob and all, into your mouth. Making a stir-fry is a simple way to incorporate it, but how about tossing a handful into a batch of chowder or salad? Roasting baby corn really brings out its sweet flavor, and it’s a cinch. Baby corn can be a nice addition to soups, stews, or curries. It’s rarely enjoyed on its own.
Although it doesn’t pack as much flavor as mature corn, baby corn has numerous health benefits. It can even be considered healthier than corn. It has fewer calories, and it is perfect for low-carb diets. It has less sugar than corn, making it a good substitute for corn if you have diabetes. Baby corn provides valuable nutrition. It is also rich in fiber, vitamins A, E, C, and vitamin B complexes, folate, and minerals such as iron, calcium, and zinc.
Baby corn is a delightful addition to a variety of dishes. But you can’t compare the taste of freshly harvested to the frozen stuff you’re likely to find in stores!