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Sour Corn


12 ears high-quality corn, shucked

1 quart spring water

3 tablespoons Morton kosher salt

3 sprigs thyme

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Sour corn marries the puckering acidity of sauerkraut with the natural sweetness of corn. It’s traditionally sautéed in a skillet with a bit of bacon fat, but it also makes a nice relish. You could also fold it into cornbread or pair it with sweeter seafoods like shrimp, crab, or scallops.


Keep it Kosher: Use kosher salt or pickling salt for these recipes (and any other pickles you make). Iodine in table salt and minerals from sea salt will alter the flavor. But remember that not all kosher salt is created equal: Morton, used here, is saltier than Diamond Crystal.
  1. Cut corn kernels from cob. Discard cob. In a saucepot, combine spring water and salt and heat just until salt has dissolved, then remove from heat and allow to cool to 100 degrees. To a sterile crock or glass jar, add corn kernels.
  2. To the cooled brine, add thyme and red pepper flakes, then pour over corn to cover by a couple inches. Place a lid or plastic bag filled with extra brine over the corn to keep it fully submerged. Cover top of crock or jar with cheesecloth or a paper towel and secure around the neck with a rubber band. Move to a cool dark place and let sit at room temperature for 6 to 8 days, checking often and skimming off any foam that forms.
  3. When you’re happy with the taste (the corn should have a briny and slightly funky flavor, but still retain some of its natural sweetness), transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator. It can last several months, but be sure to keep kernels submerged in brine.
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