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Best way to keep sweet corn

  • b

Back from the farmer's market today (cool idea, it's open Thur. 4 p.m. -8 p.m.) with a bunch of great, just picked sweet corn. If we don't eat it all, what's the best way to save it? I've read chilling it makes the sugars turn to starch quickly, but is it OK to leave on the counter? Should I store in my cooler basement? Expert corn 'hounds, please advise!

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  1. I have never heard that rumor about chilling it. Rather the opposite, in fact.

    I trim the ends and remove the outer half of the husks and then store it in the coldest part of the frig (about 35 degrees); it keeps well for several days. Most corn in farmer's markets is sugar-enhanced in some form these days, some more than others, so it tends to be less of an issue than in time of yore.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Karl

      I've kept corn relatively fresh for several days by trimming the ends (keeping husks on) and dipping in cold water before putting into a ziplock bag and stashing into the fridge. I never knew why this works and would love to hear any explanations anyone might have.

      Of course it's never as good as the day it's picked, but farm market corn a couple of days old is always better than almost all supermarket corn. Happy eating, berkleybabe!

      1. re: Dennison

        Dennison,
        Just a guess at why your method of dipping the corn in water before storing in the fridge works: Since corn tends to dry out rapidly, which adversely affects the texture & flavor, you're helping to keep it moist until you use it. Good idea, and I'm going to try it! BTW, that's why one should NEVER buy the husked, packaged stuff in supermarkets - it's drying out while it's still in the store.

        As for ways to prepare it other than on the cob, I like it sauteed in (unsalted) butter, with a little salt and very little water or milk. Also, in corn pudding, corn chowder and raw in salads.

    2. I steam it a minute or two, then let it cool, vaccuum seal it, and throw it in the freezer. Not quite as good as fresh, but close. If you don't have a vaccuum sealer, get one. Get a good one, and use it often. You won't regret it.

      1. b
        Brandon Nelson

        Babe (I feel so "Bill&Ted)

        Keep it cold and moist. I wish I knew the origin of the old wives tale about not refrigerating corn. As that corn dries the texture will suffer. As it ages it's taste will suffer. A cold environment slows the sugar to starch process. Eat it soon. Enjoy!

        Chow!!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Brandon Nelson

          Thanks, I was hoping, Brandon, you'd post. Wonderfully fresh corn is just such a gift, but, on ther other hand, we always can't eat the dozen or more we buy at the point of freshness.We may always need a plan "b" for the freshness bunch.

        2. I've tried different ways of cooking fesh corn but nothing I do seems to make a difference. I've added salt, sugar, vinegar, left it on the heat, took it off the heat, cooked it for 5 minutes, cooked it for 20 minutes, etc. Nothing seems to make a difference. I've tried grilling but I tend to burn the ears.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Scagnetti

            I just use plain old H2O--no salt, sugar --nothing added. We generally use a large, wide frying pan. Fill it with 1 -2 " water, cover and let come to a full boil. Toss in ears, cover and cook for only two minutes--just to heat through. Never fails. I've had corn, grilled in the husk--which is delicious; the heat caramelizes some of the kernels. But plain old steamed/boiled sweet corn is still my favorite. Key is not to overcook it.

            1. re: Scagnetti

              I always BBQ my corn. I usually am cooking something on a low to medium wood or charcoal fire (gas sucks), and after partially unwrapping the ears, just enough to remove the silk, I wrap 'em up again and put them on the grille for 15-20 minutes, turning occassionally. At the end, I peel the husks back all the way (without actually removing them-- this leaves something to hold on to and looks great) and grille for another 5 minutes or so, really just for a little color.
              Try it!

              1. re: Scagnetti

                I often cook it on the grill, on the highest rack. I actually husk it, and then coat the inside of some alum. foil with butter, which I sprinkle with salt, and then squeeze in some lime juice. I roll up the ears in the foil and put on the covered grill, on the side away from the heat if possible, for 10 mins. If I'm cooking it inside, I drop it in boiling water, turn off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes. I hate it overcooked. It can take 10 minutes, or more, on the grill cooked as above because of the foil wrap and the distance from, and indirectness of, the heat.
                Also, and this may be sacrilege to do to fresh corn, I enjoy serving the grilled corn pie that I learned from James McNair's "Corn" book. Basically it's corn removed from the ear and pressed with as much corn milk as you can scrape from the ear into an overheated [i.e., 30 minutes in the 450 degree oven with nothing but oil in it] cast iron skillet and baked for about half hour and then inverted onto a plate. It's gorgeous when served, and yummy.

                1. re: wayno

                  I always wondered what the purpose of grilling something tightly wrapped in foil was. You certainly don't add any smoky flavor doing it that way.
                  Try the method i suggested on this thread, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

                2. re: Scagnetti

                  For cooking truly fresh corn (pick it now and cook it now), put corn into pot of cold water, put lid on, heat on high, cook just until begins to boil!!! Better than boiling for several minutes.

                  1. re: Scagnetti
                    t
                    Trudy Nepstad

                    Pull the husks back, but do not remove them. Then take out the "silk", salt and pepper the corn, then arrange the husks back in the original position. Wrap securely with waxed paper and microwave about 1 1/2 min. Test for doneness as microwaves vary.

                    1. re: Trudy Nepstad

                      OK, confession time -- I nuke my corn too! But all that fuss with the husks and the waxed paper is unnecessary. Just strip off the husks and silk. Place the cobs in a covered Corningware baking dish with a half inch or so of water, and cook on "high" until done. In my rather slow machine that takes seven to ten minutes for three or four ears.

                  2. For cooking we just boil it briefly, for storage, we generally trim the ends and put it in freezer bags and freeze as soon it is picked, then to cook we drop the frozen ears in boiling salted water (don't thaw first). For corn that isn't right out of the garden, the standard here is to blanch it before freezing.

                    Not a good producing corn year for me, but my local supermarket buys direct from local farmers and their corn was amazing this year.

                    1. As already mentioned, freezing works well. But, hey,
                      don't discount the deliciousness of cold, cooked corn.
                      I often eat the leftovers for breakfast, and, boy,
                      does that spell "summer"! (If you're hesitant, I
                      understand, but I just made another convert in July -
                      really.) Just forget about the butter - if the corn's
                      good, it doesn't need it, and it's too weird on
                      cold corn anyway...