This post was written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Family Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can read the original post here.
SUMMER IS WHEN YOU CAN ENJOY THE BEST CORN ON THE COB IF YOU USE THESE TIPS
I’m from the Garden State (that’s New Jersey!) and I know a thing or two about getting the best corn on the cob. I have eaten it all of my life, but only in the summer and only when purchased from a farm stand. The freshness and sweetness of the corn was one of those things people made a big deal about when I was growing up. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have the same experience.
Here’s all you need to know get the best corn on the cab no matter where you live.
How to Get the Sweetest Corn
- Pick it and eat it! Corn can lose 25% or more of its sugar content in the first 25 hours after harvesting since the natural sugars start to convert to starch as soon as it’s picked. The sooner you eat it the sweeter it will be.
- Keep it cool to slow the conversion process from sugar to starch. Store it in a cooler if traveling any distance in the hot summer to a farm or grocery store. Avoid buying it from the back of a truck or a farmstand in direct sunlight. Place it in the refrigerator as soon as you get home if you aren’t going to eat it right away.
- Keep the husks on until ready to cook. If removed too soon it increases the heat exposure of the cob and the conversion of sugar to starch.
How to Pick the Best Ears
- Look for corn displayed in a refrigerated bin or well-shaded location.
- Select ears with even green husks that are slightly damp to the touch.
- Check to see that the tassels are pale and silky, not dry, with brown on tips.
- Inspect the cut end to be sure it’s clean cut, not brown or soft.
- Hold each ear in your hand to see if it feels cool, not warm, which indicates starch conversion is taking place.
- Don’t peel it in the store or pick ones that have been peeled back. You want the husks tightly in place until you’re ready to cook it, and it increases the chance of bacterial contamination to expose the tip or pierce the kernels.
How to Cook the Best Corn
- Choose a pot large enough to hold the number of ears you want to cook with enough room for water to cover them.
- Fill the pot with unsalted water, cover with a lid, and place over high heat to bring to a boil. (Now is the best time to husk your corn).
- If the corn is more than 2 days old, add ½ cup sugar to the water for every 6 ears you are cooking. The sugar in the water keeps the sugar in the corn from leaching out (by osmosis).
- Add the ears to the pot once the water is at a full boil.
- Let the water return to a boil without a lid.
- Boil hard for another 3-4 minutes.
- Remove corn immediately with tongs and serve.
- Don‘t leave corn standing in water.
Your corn should snap when you bite into it and burst with off-white juices. It should not be chewy or tough. If it’s really fresh and really sweet, no butter or salt is needed.