Check out these 8 mouth-watering, delicious, easy corn recipes, including side dishes and main dishes, all featuring corn!
I’m grateful to Iowa Corn for sponsoring this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel to Iowa with a group of 11 other bloggers and learn about ALL things corn. 🌽💛
Iowa Corn sponsored the trip and were such gracious hosts. They had a packed schedule and all kinds of fun stuff planned for us.
The night we arrived, we had a catered dinner at Iowa Distilling Company.
You guys know I am a total bourbon lover and they had so many great whiskeys, cocktails and fun drinks for us to try. 🥃
The craziest one? A shot of their Prairie Fire cinnamon whiskey and pickle juice.
Now, I know. It sounds weird and a little disgusting but I swear, it really works. The pickle juice mellows the heat of the whiskey and the cinnamon flavors totally drown out the pickle flavor. It was so good! Sadly, they don’t sell it outside of Iowa yet so I guess I’m just going to have to go back with a bigger suitcase and load up!
The next day was farm day, my favorite day. ❤️
We were able to visit two century farms — which means they had been family-owned for more than 100 years — and meet the farmers, walk around their fields and even ride a combine. It was glorious weather and really fun to be outside watching how they work.
I was struck by not only their dedication to their farms, and raising the best crops possible, but how much sustainability plays a role in this. They are focused not just on the crops they raise and the animals they care for but also the land they work.
For instance, Kellie Blair, who we met at Blair Farm, is using sorghum as a cover crop, to rotate which acres they are using and give some of the land a break. They are able to have their cows graze on it as a bonus. But planting and managing that extra crop doesn’t bring them any money and costs them in terms of time and labor. But it’s good for the ground, so they’re making that investment in the land.
Theirs is a really holistic view of farming, because that’s what’s best for their farms. Makes sense, right? They would want to take the best possible care of their land, their crops and their animals because this is their livelihood. It’s not about making a quick buck. There’s little of that in farming. It’s about putting everything they can into what they do so it’ll give back as much as possible. And continue to do so for years and generations to come.
At lunch, we talked with a registered dietitian and nutrition academic from the Iowa State University who patiently answered ALL of our questions about nutrition myths and facts.
I’m a health and nutrition editor for my day job so this was very familiar but also very fascinating for me. And I really came away with a lot more perspective and information.
A few corn nutrition nuggets we covered:
- GMO corn is not something to be feared. I know there’s a lot of hype and misinformation out there, but it made sense to me that a kernel of corn that is engineered to resist insecticides is not worse - and could be considered better - than a corn stalk that needs to be sprayed with insecticide, and a lot of it. (Which of course gets in the ground and in the water.) GMOAnswers and The Center for Food Integrity are a couple of good, evidence-based resources for learning more.
- Organic is not necessarily superior. Again, lots of misinformation and fear mongering about this one. But I’ve always heard and agree that it’s more important to eat fruits and vegetables. Any fruits and vegetables. (We also noted that the choice to buy organic is a privileged one and no one should be made to feel as if they aren’t taking care of their families if they can’t, or don’t want to, buy organic products.)
- She also explained how high fructose corn syrup is created and what it means chemically. It’s made from corn, a natural grain, with no additives and is treated by our bodies similar to how regular table sugar is digested. I’m definitely not freaked out by it like I used to be.
Our last day involved a trip to the Iowa Speedway, complete with a pace car ride around the track, which is the fastest short track in the world. It was SO fun!
We also got to hear all about ethanol and how it can be such a benefit for the environment. It requires less energy to transport, is safer to transport (it’s biodegradable whereas oil and gasoline obviously cause major problems when they spill) and helps support local economies.
It was fascinating to me as well that the process to turn corn into ethanol is so clean and efficient. Basically, the corn goes in to be distilled, spitting out what’s called distiller’s grains, which farms use to feed livestock. It’s rich in protein and really healthy for the animals.
Also created is the ethanol. A bushel of corn is 56 lbs. and will yield 3 gallons of ethanol and 18 pounds of distiller’s grains. The last main thing that the process creates is carbon dioxide. Instead of releasing this into the atmosphere, where it could contribute to greenhouse gases and damage the ozone, it’s recaptured and put to use. It’s used for adding carbonation to beverages, freezing frozen pizzas and more.
All that’s left now is the water vapor that steams out into the air. Pretty impressive, I thought.
Overall, I really was moved by the whole trip and with the whole story of corn in America. A big thank you to Iowa Corn for the important work they do and their commitment to sharing this with all of us. 🌽💛
And finally, cause I know I’ve been eating ALL the corn since my trip, I wanted to share the corn love with you.
8 easy corn recipes to check out:
- Yellow squash and corn medley
- Summer corn salad
- Bacon rice with corn
- Quick corn and pepper sauté
- Bacon jalapeño cream corn
- Slow cooker potato and corn chowder
- Queso chicken skillet with vegetables
- Easy cheesy cornbread muffins