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Boiling Corn on the Cob

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  • Roxy Aug 1, 2005 04:57 PM
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Need help on how to know when you boil corn when it is ready so that it does not taste under cooked or over cooked. Is there a right amount of time to boil corn. I can never seem to get it right. I know people who add milk and say that is how to get the sweetest taste and other say to add sugar to the water. One person even said to cook in beer.

What is the best way and for how long should it boil on the oven. I don't have a grill so the grilling method wouldn't work. I have also heard that if you cook it in the oven with the husk still on works.

What is the best cooking method for corn on the cob.

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  1. I didn't knwo boiling corn was a complicated thing...mabye I've having bad corn and didn't even know it...

    I just boil some water, and when it comes to a boil, plot in corn that's been cleaned, put the lid back on and bring it back to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, I let it go for 3 minutes or so. Take it out and shock it to cool if I'm not eat it straight it away. Otherwise it's good to go.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Wendy Lai

      I wouldn't think it's too hard either, but I heard my neighbor give her daughter-in law advice on how to cook sweet corn---boil for 15 min on high! Can you imagine how tough that corn was?

    2. f
      farmersdaughter

      If the corn is very fresh you don't need to boil it for very long at all. The way our family always did it when I was growing up (if we weren't using the grill) was to bring water to a boil, add salt, put in the corn and turn off the heat, cover and let the corn sit in the hot water for about 2 minutes, then remove it from the water and serve with whatever you want. My dad's corn was so good we never even put butter on it, just salt and pepper.

      2 Replies
      1. re: farmersdaughter
        t
        The Turtle (Bay) Dove

        This is how I do it too - although I will sometimes leave the corn in for closer to 4 minutes than 2 minutes. However, you can always put the water back on if it's too raw and you can't undo overdone corn. And if the corn needs butter, it's not fresh enough (although I do sometimes like butter on my corn anyway).

        1. re: The Turtle (Bay) Dove
          b
          BluPlateSpec

          Ditto. I think I first saw this method in the NY Times. We get fresh corn from the farmers' market at Union Square and always prepare it this way. We never boil it. It's so good that adding butter would take away from the taste and we never use it.

      2. To add to what the others said, I would put just a little water on the bottom--hardly anything.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Chorus Girl

          Ditto - I like to use a large fry pan with maybe a half-inch of water. Bring to a boil, put corn in and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes - less if it's very fresh and tender.

        2. I like shucking and cleaning it and putting it in a shallow dish with butter. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave. No water, it steams in its own juice and the cob stays really hot keeping the corn hot. 2 ears on high for about 5 minutes.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Candy

            I do almost the same thing---but do use 1 T. water for 4 ears(no butter) and put in a micro safe dish with a lid. Micro on high for 9 min. I boiled sweet corn for years, but really think this is one vegie that is done best in the micro. When it's hot in the summer, this is a great way to not heat up the kitchen.

            1. re: Candy

              This summer I microwaved corn for the first time and could not believe how good it was. I may have been converted. Not having to wait for the big kettle to boil - not to mention heating up the whole kitchen - was a real timesaver.

              1. re: Candy
                s
                Seattle Rose

                For corn in the microwave, no need to shuck. I just put the whole ears in for 2 to 3 minutes. When cooked, the corn shucks very easily, corn silk and all. Use pot holders!

                1. re: Candy

                  Microwaving is definitely the easy and fast way. I read somewhere to wrap it in wax paper and twist the ends tight before putting in the mike. That works well, and letting it steam in the wax paper for a few minutes after coming out does not hurt it a bit, and helps keep it warm.

                2. a
                  Aromatherapy

                  One of the best pieces of advice I've ever received, from a Mainer: when boiling corn (I like the shallow water method), keep smelling it (gingerly, wave the steam toward your nose like in chem class--scalded nostrils HURT) until the aroma changes from sort of grassy to, well, sweet corn. It takes a little practice but once you've got it, you've got it. Fresh corn can take as little as a minute. Five minutes seems like an awful lot, but I suppose it depends on the corn. (And I do like my corn on the crispy side.)

                  In the oven: Toss unhusked corn into a very hot oven (at least 400) until you smell a bit of charring--about 3-4 minutes. I like this method for cooking large amounts for corn salad--it goes straight from the oven into a sink full of ice water and I can deal with it later.

                  1. boiling salted water and 4 minutes in the pot. If possible get the water on the stove before you pick the corn.

                    1. All my life, I have thrown it in a pot of furiously boiling water with a splash a milk and cooked it there for about 3 minutes. Never been under or overdone.

                      However, the best corn I've ever cooked was as follows (works if you live on a clean coast, like Maine): Soak corn in its husk for several hours in the ocean (I throw it in a crate tied to the dock that we otherwise keep our live lobster in after we bring them home from the local wharf). Then, as your about finsihed cooking your b-b-q'd meal, throw the corn, still in its husk, directly onto the charcoal (or fire pit), which should be pretty much just hot embers and ash at this point, and let it cook there for about 5 to 7 minutes (turning occasionally). Then let it cool slightly and shuck it. The corn will have steamed in its husk and will end up flavored with a wonderful touch of salt.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Jim Slade

                        this won't help the OP, but your post reminded me of growing up in southern california. We used to have big ole cookouts at huntington beach state park. We'd get a new metal trashcan 3/4 full of ocean water. put the whole trashcan on the bonfire get it to a boil, then throw in dozens of ears of corn in and cook it together. Man it was good.

                        Who knows if it was sanitary. I didn't care - it was just good.