There are some vegetables that seem to be included in just about every hearty meal or recipe out there. Of course, this also means that there are plenty of vegetables that are not often thought of or heavily disliked by a large number of people.
Some vegetables, while not being very well liked, contain more than enough nutrients that people will try and find ways of stomaching the food so that they can get what their bodies need.
With that being said, there are some cases where it may not be the best thing to do to stomach the vegetables and do your best. For example, when vegetables become overripe, they often lose many of the qualities that people appreciate about them and they also become far more susceptible to problems such as mold.
To most people, the only thing to do with overripe vegetables is to throw them out.
But throwing out vegetables can easily be considered wasteful as those vegetables either cost money to purchase or cost time and effort to grow. Most people don’t want to waste their resources, especially when they can get good nutrients out of the vegetables despite the fact that they are overcooked.
There are actually quite a number of ways that you can make use of various overripe vegetables. Some of them can still retain enough of their original form to be used in dishes that simply have a heavier flavor while other vegetables may be more difficult to find uses for.
Corn is one such vegetable that does not have a clearly defined use when it becomes overripe. Overripe corn tends to lose both the distinct texture of the kernels as well as its flavor, making it much harder to work with when you want to include it in a dish.
If you were to include the overripe corn kernels in a dish, it may offset the entire dish, which is something that nobody wants to have happen.
Thankfully, there are a couple of things that you can do to salvage overripe corn. You can choose to make a variety of dishes with the corn, ranging from creamed corn to corn pudding and corn souffle. You can also make corn meal, which can be used in cornbread, tortillas, grits, and so on.
The possibilities are nearly endless.
1 – Corn Souffle or Corn Pudding
For better or for worse, these two dishes are incredibly similar with some people even using these names interchangeably to refer to the same thing.
Corn souffle is a savory dish that you can easily make with corn regardless of how ripe the corn itself is. This is because the corn used in this recipe will be creamed, meaning that you won’t have to worry about the texture and the flavor will be overshadowed by many other ingredients.
Corn souffle, sometimes referred to as a creamed corn casserole, is exactly what the name sounds like. With the overripe corn, you will take all of the kernels and turn them into creamed corn.
This can be done by combining the corn kernels with a variety of ingredients, often including melted butter, some sugar, water, cream, cornstarch, and seasonings.
Once you have the creamed corn, you will want to take some cornbread mix (or you can make the cornbread yourself, depending on exactly how much overripe corn you have), sour cream, condensed milk, baking powder, butter, eggs, and occasionally some cream cheese to make the corn souffle.
The exact ingredients you will use depend entirely on the recipe that you rely on but these are some of the most common ingredients that you will find in the recipes.
Corn pudding is generally made in a similar fashion with slightly different ingredients and cooking methods. You can choose whether you want to make the pudding, souffle, or even both if you have enough corn to get the job done.
These aren’t the only things that you can make from overripe corn, though.
2 – Cornmeal
Cornmeal is an ingredient that is used in a number of different foods ranging from cornbread to tortillas and even some types of Indian pudding. It is most notably used in grits, which are a traditional southern breakfast dish.
In some cases, the cornmeal can also work in pancakes and other baked goods as a substitute for some flours.
The cornmeal itself is easy to make and because the kernels of the corn are dried and ground up, you won’t need to worry about texture. Additionally, because the corn kernels are simply a building block in most recipes that call for cornmeal, you won’t have to worry about the taste of it either.
To make cornmeal, you will want to purchase a corn grinder. Some people will make do with a coffee grinder but if you plan on using your own coffee grinder, be sure to clean it out thoroughly both before and after so that you don’t affect the taste of either the cornmeal or the coffee that you make.
Once the corn is thoroughly dried and ground to your taste, you can use this in whatever recipe you want. If you have plans for recipes that call for cornmeal, you should try and see how finely ground the recipes call for the cornmeal to be.
Some recipes, such as grits, require very finely ground corn, which may take more time for you to make.
3 – Corn Relish or Salsa
If you are a fan of dipping sauces, you can consider making corn relish or corn salsa.
Both of these can make good use from the overripe corn kernels and even thrive off using them. The recipe itself is also considerably easy to make, often taking about one hour to complete in total.
Besides the corn, you will want to use seasonings, diced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and both green and red peppers to add flavor to the relish or salsa. If you want other vegetables in the salsa, you can add them to taste as well.
Once you have all of the ingredients, you will want to remove the kernels from the corn and boil them for about 30 minutes along with all of the other vegetables and seasonings that you plan to use.
Once those 30 minutes have passed, you will want to thicken the relish or salsa to your preference and stir it all together so it has an even consistency.
Once this is done, you will have corn relish or corn salsa to add to your arrangement of dips for tortilla chips and anyone who tries it wouldn’t think that the corn dip came from overripe corn that would have been previously unusable.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.