Sunday, September 20, 2015

Jalapeño-Cilantro Pickled Corn

We've lived in our current house for 5 years.  Our neighbor Barb used to live in our house when she was younger.  She's only ever lived on this street her entire life.  Isn't that just amazing?  She often shares history about the property or how things "used to be" when she was growing up - - that tree was a gift she gave her mother on Mother's Day, those Black Walnut trees were planted to help make money for the family during the Depression…just fascinating things to learn.  She is a pure treasure.

All the kernels removed
from the cobs.
One of the more interesting things we learned is that where I currently have my garden planted was where the old barn used to be.  To this day I credit the great luck I've had with growing vegetables with what has to be awesome soil and a foundation of years of horse manure!  I always make a point of bringing her fresh veggies from the garden or items I make like pickles or jams.  She gets so excited and is so gracious.  In fact, she discovered my husband and I love to grill sweet corn so now each time I bring her vegetables she brings over a few ears of corn for us from the local farmer's market.   She even puts hand written notes in with the corn thanking me and sharing how she used the harvest.  "I candied those delicious carrots." or "Best pickles I've ever had!"  I even planted an extra harvest of radishes this year because I know they are her favorite.  Sweetest.  Lady.  Ever.

I used a few smaller 8 oz jars so I could
give them to friends and family to taste.
So, anyway, back to the corn…. After about the fifth or sixth time she brought us the corn this summer I realized I was going to have to find some new ways to use it up.  That's how I came to discover this recipe for Jalapeño-Cilantro pickled corn.  It is such a delicious way to preserve the corn and it adds a pop of flavor to whatever you serve it with.  The sweet delicate kernels married with the heat from the jalapeño and red onions, combined with a recognizable cilantro backdrop - - it is the perfect combination.  And it couldn't be easier to make.

I just loved the bright colors.  So pretty!
Take 4 ears of corn (husks removed) and cook it in a large pot of unsalted boiling water until the corn is bright yellow and just cooked through.  Depending on how large the ears are, it shouldn't take more than 2-3 minutes.   Carefully remove the corn (I used tongs to make sure not to splash myself!) and place it in a ice bath.  Once cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cobs.  There are a lot of different tricks to how to do this but I like standing the cob up (stem side down) on a clean dish towel and then carefully running my knife down along the cob.  The towel keeps the cob firmly in place and also prevents the kernels from bouncing off the counter or getting all over the place.  Once you've cut off all the kernels you can place them in the jars with the onion, jalapeño and cilantro.  Bring the vinegar, salt, sugar and 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Be sure to stir to help dissolve the salt and sugar.  Once everything is combined and dissolved you pour the hot brine over the prepared jars of corn and cover them.  Let them cool on the counter before putting them into the fridge to chill.

Lightly tap the jars on the counter to get rid of any air
bubbles that might be in the jars before sealing them up.
The finished product can be used as a garnish on tacos, grilled meats or fish.  Its also good as a salsa or just piled on top of crackers.  I've been serving it alongside my Charcuterie boards as a pickled item that cuts through the richness of the different cheeses and meats.  It would also make a great mix-in for summer salads with couscous or rice.

If it wasn't for my wonderful neighbor and her gifts of peak-of-the-season corn I likely would have never discovered this dish.  I'll never be able to express to her how much her stories and history about our home mean to me, but I know I will always remember her when I eat this dish.

Jalapeño-Cilantro Pickled Corn
4 ears of corn (husks removed)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
5 large sprigs Cilantro
1 cup distilled White Vinegar
2 Tbsp Kosher Salt
2 tsp granulated sugar

1 qt Mason (canning jar) or two 1-pint jars with lids

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