It's peak corn season right now, and time for simple ways to enjoy the natural sweetness of fresh corn-on-the-cob.

Most folks equate corn-on-the-cob with plenty of melted butter. But you will be pleasantly astonished to discover, like the staff who taste-tested this version, how wonderful corn can taste without butter. Really. No butter. Just plenty of juicy flavor.

As soon as corn is picked, its natural sugar begins to convert to starch - making the corn taste less sweet. So ideally, buy corn as soon after it's picked as you can, and cook it as quickly as possible. But even corn that has been trucked in or refrigerated is delicious grilled or roasted, which heightens the sweetness and adds a nice smoky taste.

When selecting corn, pick ears with bright green, tight-fitting husks and golden brown silk. The kernels should be milky, plump and in tightly-spaced rows that reach all the way to the tip of the ear.

Corn is believed to contain cancer-fighting properties. Recent studies suggest that higher consumption of lutein (part of the carotenoid family that includes beta-carotene) helps fight cancer. One study reported that women with the highest blood levels of lutein faced about half the incidence of breast cancer as those with the lowest. Other research shows that people with the highest dietary intake of lutein had a substantially lower incidence of colon cancer than those with the lowest intake. Although yellow corn contains less lutein than dark green, leafy vegetables, it's still an excellent source of this cancer-protective phytochemical. Lutein may also reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

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Corn roasted in the following way is so good you may want to roast a few extra ears and cut the kernels off the cob for salads, salsas, or soups.

Roasted Corn with Cumin and Lime

Makes 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 ears fresh corn, in the husk
  • 2 limes, cut lengthwise into wedges

Directions

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  1. Heat the grill or preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, cumin, salt, pepper and oil.
  3. Prepare corn, one ear at a time. Pull off and discard the 2 or 3 tough outer leaves. Carefully pull back remaining leaves, one at a time, exposing as much of the ear as possible. (It is better to uncover only half the ear than to tear the husks.) Pull off all the silk.
  4. Brush kernels with oil mixture, using just enough to coat corn lightly. Smooth folded leaves back into place, one by one, until ear is completely covered.
  5. Arrange corn on the grill or place in oven. Roast 15 minutes. If using a grill, turn ears 2 or 3 times. (This is not necessary if oven-roasting.)
  6. Serve corn immediately, accompanied by additional salt, if desired, and lime wedges, which are squeezed over the corn as it is eaten.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
91 calories,
3 g. total fat (less than 1 g. saturated fat),
17 g. carbohydrate,
2 g. protein,
2 g. dietary fiber,
207 mg. sodium.
Diabetic Exchanges: 1 Bread, 1/2 Vegetable, 1/2 Fat


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