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Silver Queen Corn


foodiehall
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Any corn experts out there? Used to be that one of the great treats of summer-time eating was Silver Queen corn. Not just any white corn, Silver Queen has kernels that resemble small translucent pearls so tender that the corn is almost as good eaten raw as it is cooked. The unshucked cobs usually have tightly=wrapped bright green leaves, often with sand clinging to the silky end. I can't pinpoint the exact time but over the last ten years, Silver Queen has become more and more scarce....at least in central NC....until now it seems to be non=existent. What gets me is that at the state Farmers' Market and even at roadside stands, people will advertise their corn as "Silver Queen" assuming (I guess) that us dumb city folk will be fooled into thinking that any white corn is Silver Queen....but it's not! I think most of what's being sold as SQ is actually Supersweet, which is certainly not bad....but it's NOT Silver Queen. Supersweet has plump white kernels which turn a pale yellow when cooked whereas SQ will remain white. Also Supersweet is almost too sweet, even when salted....but that's a matter of personal opinion. Can anyone out there shed some light on the disappearance of Silver Queen? Surely I'm not the only one who's missing it. Anyone know of a source for it in the Raleigh area?

CBHall

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i know you can still get it on Maryland's eastern shore.

SQ corn is one of the agricultural staples there.

ask Chappie if he has seen any around the Cambridge area.

you used to be able to score for silver queen

between Easton MD and Salisbury MD.

now is about the right time for SQ corn.

you want me to FedEX you some?

-m

ETA... if there happens to be a swell, and i decide to go surfing

i'll take a look-see on the way down to Assateague and post here.

Edited by akebono (log)

Nonsense, I have not yet begun to defile myself.

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Here in Pennsylvania the same thing holds true. Silver Queen, which used to rule the sweet corn world is all but gone. The new super sweet varieties have replaced it. They hold their sweetness longer. About a mile from my house I used to buy Silver Queen coen from a farmer just after he picked it. It was wondefull stuff. Now he grows other varieties. He told me it makes economic sense for him. He can bring it in sooner and keep the crop going longer. He tells me very little Silver Queen is grown in Lancaster County these days.

The super sweet varieties are sweet indeed, but I'm not sure they taste like corn. I too miss Silver Queen.

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Back when I used to buy Silver Queen at roadside stands here in central NY state I was advised that it freezes better than the newer varieties. It was 25 years ago and I can't distinctly recall an A/B taste comparison.

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I recall reading an article several years ago in the New York Times, perhaps, that alluded to the fact that most corn that is marketed as Silver Queen is a different variety.

If I recall the gist of the article, new hybrid varieties that have better yield or hardiness characteristics have led most farmers to make the switch.

Perhaps somebody can find a link to the article on the net.

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I have bought Silver King at the Produce Place here in Nashville twice recently and it was so sweet AND tasted like corn---I wanted to just eat it raw off the cob. I'm pretty sure I've seen Silver Queen around, too, but haven't bought any.

I may be in Nashville but my heart's in Cornwall

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got 5 rows of corn this year......2 rows of "silver queen" and 3 rows of "peaches-n-cream". bought a brown bag of seed this past spring at a place in Corinth, MS., but i know a guy was selling it at the franklin (Tennessee) farmers market this past spring also. If you can't find it next year and want to grow it ill buy it and send it to you!

Newgene Ledbetter would rather climb a tree to tell you a lie than stand on the ground and tell you the truth!

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the name "silver queen" has become generic among farmers market vendors for many different varieties of white corn. there was an interesting study a few years ago that tracked regional preferences in corn varieties and reflected how one variety could become dominant in a certain area but remain practically unknown in an adjacent one. Southern Maine, for example, is Silver Queen territory, but Northern Maine prefers a bi-color variety called Butter & Sugar.

another study blind-tasted varieties of sweet corn among people who considered themselves corn connoisseurs and found that most of them really did prefer the new se and sh2 varieties to silver queen.

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We're not Maine, but the corn we cut and put in the freezer last week might have been Butter and Sugar---it was super-sweet, extra-full kernels of both colors ranged round the cob. Not a blemish, not a cutworm, not a single ear unfilled. Terrific batch---fourteen dozen ears. Hope we can get that many more about twice in the next week or so.

DEEE-licious on the grill, from the pot, creamed with just a dash of salt.

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This season my favorite farmer has grown Peaches & Cream and Silverado instead of Silver Queen. The silverado is pretty darn good and the peaches & cream is tops. I don't mind because corn is planted every year so this guy is curious and always looking for something new. So long as he doesn't bulldoze his peach trees to plant mangoes I'm happy.

John Malik

Chef/Owner

33 Liberty Restaurant

Greenville, SC

www.33liberty.com

Customer at the carving station: "Pardon me but is that roast beef rare?"

Apprentice Cook Malik: "No sir! There's plenty more in the kitchen!"

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I agree about Supersweet - it's too sweet. I want my corn to taste like corn, not cotton candy. I bought some corn labeled Silver Queen this year and I think it was actually Supersweet. I did get some bi-colored corn at the start of the season that was excellent, but it wasn't labeled as to variety. I was at the farmers market in Raleigh today, and a farmer told me that the extreme heat we're having may shorten the corn season, so eat up. Really, it's hard to turn down any kind of really fresh corn! I made some great fried corn cakes Sunday night with fresh corn, red onion, cayenne, chili powder, celery, parsley, a couple eggs, a little cornmeal, flour and breadcrumbs. A friend gave me the recipe and said it originally had crawfish in it, but his S.O. doesn't like fish. But he has made it with chopped shrimp, too.

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yeah, what i hear from the guys here in NJ is that Silver Queen had to be picked and eaten in one day to stay sweet--the newer varieties hold up better--I don't like the Supersweet so much, but I've had other corn this year thats been great--and you can kepp it for 2 days if you need to and it's still pretty good.

Z

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just for the record: Supersweet is not a variety, it's a class. And almost all fresh corn you'll find today is supersweet. there are three different categories of it (se, su and sh2, if you must), that vary in the amount of initial sweetness and in the rate at which the sugar is converted to starch after picking. Sh2 is the sweetest and maintains sugar the longest, but it is not seen very often because the seed is very expensive and farmers have so far not been able to convince people to pay more for it. Color also makes very little difference: white, yellow or bi-color, they're all one of the sweet varieties (and the pigment that makes yellow corn yellow is actually flavorless).

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I've gotten Silver Queen at the Nashville farmers' market twice this year (I've only been there three times since I moved to Nashville), but only from the Tennessee Producers' section where the farmers pull up their pickup trucks (e.g., not from the permanent vendors). One of the permanent vendors has a permanent sign up for Silver Queen, but he's selling Silver King (and will say so, if specifically asked).

I got some wonderful Peaches and Cream corn from some of the Amish in Lawrence County, TN a few weeks ago.

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We're getting another umpty-dozen ears Monday, I think. It's cooled off considerable, and doesn't look to heat up again for several days. Whew!! And that butter-and-sugar stuff is DEEE-licious.

Something about corn-shuckin' off a tailgate just brings out my COUNTRY side!!

And Welcome, Gingersnap!! You picked the right place to make your first post---A GRITS girl come home.

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Something about corn-shuckin' off a tailgate just brings out my COUNTRY side!!

funny you should mention that....

I think it was late last summer we had made a pilgrimmage to the farmers' market and come home w/ a bushel or so of corn, pounds of beans, some zipper peas, &c and were sitting out back shucking corn, snapping beans, and shelling peas. Fuss was surrounded w/ vegetables & looked a tad teary-eyed. I asked what was wrong and she seriously misted up and could barely say, "this reminds me of my grand mother and aunt when I was a child. We would sit out on the back porch and they would gossip back and forth while we shelled corn, snapped beans, and shelled peas. I was just sitting here thinking of them."

They have not been with us for years but sitting there doing that work took her back.

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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  • 1 month later...

Wow! This was our first summer in NC and the corn was horrid, until I stopped at a small roadside stand on rt. 55 near Bayboro and bought my first batch of Silver Queen corn. Excellent! Almost as good at The Sweet Sue we used to get in New Jersey! Will be looking for it again.

Life is too important to be taken seriously.[br]Oscar Wilde

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Wow!  This was our first summer in NC and the corn was horrid, until I stopped at a small roadside stand on rt. 55 near Bayboro and bought my first batch of Silver Queen corn.  Excellent!  Almost as good at The Sweet Sue we used to get in New Jersey!  Will be looking for it again.

I'm glad to hear that you found corn that was advertised as "Silver Queen" to be the real stuff. That's what bothers me more than anything: someone calling their corn "Silver Queen" when it's actually something else. I've had some good Supersweet, BUT it's still not as good as Silver Queen, IMO. Regardless of the flavor, Supersweet just doesn't have the texture of Silver Queen. :sad:

CBHall

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  • 2 weeks later...

the name "silver queen" has become generic among farmers market vendors for many different varieties of white corn. there was an interesting study a few years ago that tracked regional preferences in corn varieties and reflected how one variety could become dominant in a certain area but remain practically unknown in an adjacent one. Southern Maine, for example, is Silver Queen territory, but Northern Maine prefers a bi-color variety called Butter & Sugar.

This may be a bit off-topic, but I just spent a week in Southern Maine and it was all about butter and sugar, and I was kind of looking for Silver Queen, since I remember it from my Alabama childhood. Not an SQ ear to be found.

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Only once, on a visit to a fine country restaurant in Conn., years ago, did I have Silver Queen. But it was memorable, and never duplicated. It was at Albert Stockli's Stonehenge, and it was delivered by a local farmer to the restaurant several times a day. Superb, big white ears, sweet, but with a real taste of corn and starch. That is what is missing in toaday's super-sweet varieties. Too sweet, and not a lot of corn flavour.

For sure, I'll be scanning the seed catalogues this winter for the original Sikver Queen.

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