We grew corn! Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised. Yet, it seems every time I grow something I have never grown before there is some element, however indiscernible, of disbelief that resides in the back of my mind. Perhaps this is my defense mechanism against disappointment - if I don't really believe it will grow then I won't be disappointed when it doesn't. I felt similarly when we grew garlic last year. And yet, there we were last night grilling chicken, shucking some corn from the farmer's market when I thought I might run up to the garden and shuck one of our own ears, just to see how they were coming along. The silks are beginning to brown and dry up - a sign, I've read, that the corn is just about ripe.
I plucked the biggest ear (which is still a cute little thing since this heirloom sweet corn is a dwarf variety) pulled back the husk and revealed a perfect - really, perfect - ear of Blue Jade corn. Nary a kernel underdeveloped or marred by the nibbles of bird or worm. Truly a most perfect little ear.
I threw this first little ear in with the rest of our corn so we could see how it tastes. Again, I wasn't overly hopeful - I've heard that those of us who are used to contemporary sweet corns are not as fond of the heirloom sweet corn varieties, as they are simply not as sweet as we've selected them to be these days. But disappointed we certainly were not. Sweet, juicy, crisp and just the right size for little hands to grasp.
I was intrigued by Blue Jade with its promise of sweet steel blue kernels that turn jade blue upon boiling. At only three to four feet high, it seemed the perfect corn to grow in Ava's fairy garden - I've aimed to plant varieties that she and Eli can easily appreciate at or near eye level. And being a fast grower, Blue Jade seemed a good choice for our short Minnesota growing season (my little euphemism for 'you call this summer?').
The kernels were not as blue as I expected them to be, though I have read of others having the same experience with Blue Jade corn. Apparently they become bluer as the corn continues to ripen; though some say the corn grows less sweet as it completes its journey to bluedom. So now we have a bit of a dilemma: which do we value more, sweetness or the novelty of blueness? I suspect as we gradually pick and eat the corn over the next week or so, we will get our share of both.
We look forward to the feast of corn ahead of us! And I'll try to snap some photos if those kernels do indeed turn blue as promised.