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Tips and Tricks for Cooking Corn on the Cob?

Ok, it's corn season.

So lets hear all your tips and tricks on getting the most out of your corn on the cob.

I've heard thus far:

1. Adding some sugar to the water used to cook to the corn will enhance its sweetness

2. Adding some milk to the water will make it extra crunchy

3. Soak the corn in their husk prior to grilling

Any others to add?

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  1. Here is jfood KISS recipe.

    1 - Buy as fresh and as good an ear as possible
    2 - take out of the bag and through on the grill with everything attached for 10-15 minutes, turning every 4-5
    3 - Remove, peel and eat

    Jfood does not add salt, butter, milk or anything else. He loves the great flavor of corn au naturale.

    And yes he has tried each of OP's tips over the years. Still for jfood - fresh, grill, strip and eat naked is the best. Always a good rule in life.

    15 Replies
    1. re: jfood

      I absolutely agree. Mostly.

      I chop up whatever herbs I've got fresh ... basil is very nice ... and mash it into soft butter. Roll the corn around in that.

      My son puts ketchup on his, but he's 25. What does he know.

      1. re: jfood

        I agree with jfood. Buy it, cook it, peel it, eat it. We haven't used butter or salt on corn in over 2 years. The only thing that jfood forgot to mention is to watch out for that cooked corn when you are peeling back the husks...it is UNBELIVEABLY hot!

        1. re: valerie

          oh yeah baby forgot that point, oops. and thx

          use two pot holders to peel, one to hold the corn and the other to peel back the husk. But please do not do this under running water, it ruins the corn.

        2. re: jfood

          Jfood, we need to throw things on the grill, not through the grill !!!

          Reference tip 2

          Just having a little fun with ya !!

          1. re: jfood

            Grilling in husk is the only way I make corn on the cob. Except, I do like butter on it. ;)

            I loathe boiled/steamed corn. It just always seems...well....waterlogged and soggy and gross.

            1. re: jfood

              jfood, I agree one hundred percent! I don't get why people boil corn. Grilling it leaves a much more intense flavor, with a hint of smoky goodness.

              1. re: invinotheresverde

                Because not all people have ready access to a grill or the time to use an oven.

                1. re: Richard 16

                  Even when grilling and roasting aren't options, steaming usually is. And steaming in the microwave is even easier than doing it on the stovetop and IMO delivers better results than boiling.

                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    I just recently discovered microwave steaming. Wrap an ear of corn in a paper towel, wet the towel thoroughly, nuke on high for 2 1/2 minutes.

                    1. re: CindyJ

                      No need for a paper towel wet or dry. Just put them--husks, silk, and all--right in the microwave. See below:


                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                        I am certainly not going to make you like boiled corn. But it seems to me that with a couple of tricks it can be pretty darned good. (Although I do prefer roasted corn.)
                        1) I posted this earlier but I'll say it again: a save the boiling water, reduce, and freeze. add back some water, cook, reduce and reuse, each time giving the corn more corn flavor.
                        2) as others have noted add sugar to the water.'
                        3) Try a different sauce – clarified butter, umeboshi plum, roasted garlic/onion, etc. etc.
                        4) Flavor the water with some vegetables and/or herbs - such as rosemary. Not my preferred approach but some people love it.

                2. re: jfood

                  ... grill, strip and eat naked is the best. Always a good rule in life.

                  Jfood, what about the corn?

                3. I'd recommend boiling for a very short time - like 2 min max and serving with a small dish of fresh ground pepper and good salt and a wedge of lime - soak up the s/p with the lime and rub onto the corn. Super cornalicious!

                  1. grilling, soak the corn in the husk, in ice water for a couple of hours before grilling - takeas about 25 mins on a hot grill.

                    Otherwise I steam my corn on the cob, boiling does not work for me.

                    Being from Illinois, one of the best states for corn in the country I only eat corn on the cob for a bout 6 weeks out of the year when it is fresh from the field, otherwise I do not bother

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: swsidejim

                      I second steaming. I take my big spaghetti pot with the colander in, add a bit of water (below the colander), and plunk the (shucked) corn in. Since there's so little water the steaming starts pretty quickly. Just turn the heat down when it does start so you don't evaporate everything. Doesn't take that long for the corn to be ready.

                      1. re: hondo77

                        I agree, sometimes I steam the corn with some red potatoes, kilbasa, crab legs, and shrimp, and pour the mess out on the table, and chow down.

                        1. re: swsidejim

                          I do the same thing, only with chorizo instead of kielbasa, and I usually throw in some mussels or steamers. So good...

                          1. re: theferlyone

                            that is a nice twist, I will have to try that soon.

                          2. re: swsidejim

                            Do you vary the time the various items go into the pot? I would think the potatoes would need much more time than the corn or shrimp. Sounds loverly though!

                            1. re: Goldendog

                              yes, I stagger the items.

                              potatoes first, I then wait about 10 mins, and add the corn, crab legs, and sausage. Cook about 10 mins, and then add the shrimp for the last few minutes.

                      2. I like these tips and they work for me. I try to avoid the larger ears of corn especially later in the season as I've found them too starchy. When I pick through the bin of corn or heap that is on a table I tend to dig down a little to where the corn is cool in hope that it is less dried out. That having been said, I live close to farms where it is sold freshly picked. As great food goes it is hard to beat fresh corn at $3 per half dozen.

                        loved the scene in MASH where Col. Potter describes not even picking the corn but bending the stock over until an ear is lowered into boiling water.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Alacrity59

                          $3.00 per half dozen? that is pretty expensive. I get a dozen ears from local growers for $3.50/dozen.

                          1. re: swsidejim

                            Q "what's a buccaneer?"
                            A "too much to pay for sweet corn."
                            heh. heh.

                            a griller here, after a water soak. you can also bury the ears of corn in the coals of a grill, if the grill surface is covered in deliciousness and you don't have room. just leave the chunky stalk bases sticking out a little so you can grab them with tongs after 10-12 mins.

                            when it is really super-fresh from the field i love to eat the corn raw off the cob.

                        2. The fresher the corn the better. My husband's late grandfather grew corn, and he didn't pick it till the water was boiling. He used to say it was so sweet because the sugar in it had not yet converted to starch. Corn that fresh needed only a couple minutes of boiling.

                          We also like to grill ours. We soak the ears in their husks in our sink for about 20 minutes then place them on a low flame grill (still in their husks) and turn frequently. The corn steams in its husk. We serve with unsalted butter, and plenty of salt to taste.

                          I also agree about the smaller ears being better. Found that out the hard way.

                          The corn we had this year in Connecticut was not as good as in year's past for some reason. Someone said farmers are selling more of it for ethanol... (??)

                          I take any extra corn and with a sharp knife scrape the kernals off the cob. Leftover corn has a million and one household uses.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: TrishUntrapped

                            Your grandfather-in-law was right. The corn needs to be very FRESH, meaning recently picked, firm, and with a healthy-looking tail of silk.
                            If I'm planning on grilling it, then I throw it on just as it is, without soaking. If boiling, I keep it in a cool place until the the water is ready, then quickly peel and toss them in the boiling water for 2-3 minutes. As soon as the corn gets exposed to air, the sugars turn to starch and the corn loses its sweetness, which is also why its important never to buy corn that has already been husked or when its silk is missing or damaged.
                            I am not sure where you are, but we've been having great luck with the corn from various nurseries and farmers' markets in Westchester lately.

                          2. Numbers 1 and 3 tried and true (#2 doesn't seem logical to me, but I can't speak to it).

                            Regarding #1, boil for only 3 minutes and then cover and remove from heat and let sit for approx 10 minutes.

                            Regarding # 3, must be ice water (from my experience).

                            In the end though, as usual, jfood is right: why complicate things? Naked is best...but everything is better with butter...

                            1. Grill naked (i.e., no husk/silk). I lube it up with some olive oil and salt and grill till charred all around.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: ESNY

                                Yes -- that's the one! A really hot grill is best for quickly getting some spots of carmelized color and flavor without dessicating, although everyone seems to wolf down the concentrated result of over-grilling just as fast.

                              2. I microwave my corn in their husks, about 4 min. each ear of corn. I put in about 4 ears of corn. Hubby and I like it because we can peel the husk and silk off the corn without the silk sticking to the corn , also the corn is tender and juicy.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: LadyCook61

                                  I agree. I don't use my microwave for much, but it does a spectacular job of cooking corn. No waiting for water to boil, no leaching of flavor or nutrients into the water, and the silk slips off like a dream. My timing is 2 to 3 minutes for one ear, 3 to 4 minutes for two, 5 to 6 minutes for four, 7 to 8 minutes for six. I'd never cook corn any other way.

                                  1. re: JoanN

                                    Thanks for this tip Joan and LadyCooks. I just tried it and it works beautifully. Plus almost nothing clean up.

                                    Also, I am in the 'au naturel' camp for corn on the cob. Much prefer without salt sugar, butter, olive oil or whatever.

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      I run some water down inside the husks to add some moisture to help steam it in the microwave. Makes really great corn.

                                  2. Salted boiling water. No sugar. Add the corn. Cover. Turn off heat.

                                    Lift the lid after 2 minutes. If it smells like corn, it's done.

                                    Corn is almost all water and needs very little time to cook. Nothing worse than tough overcooked corn.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                      Agree with your method completely except for the salt versus sugar part. Salt toughens corn.

                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                        Me too for boiling but I'm now going to try grill and microwave. I always get the water boiling, drop in the corn and turn it off (with cover on). Done in no time. Some o my family likes to fully boil for 5 min. - eeeeek!!! It's a fight to take over cooking corn. Others like to put corn in cold water, bring to a boil, then shut off. Still too much time for me.

                                      2. We clean the ears and wrap them in waxed or parchment paper, microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes - the rotate and microwave for another 1 1/2 to 2 minutes before dropping on the brill just long enough to create nice grill marks.

                                        1. Corn today is so sweet that it keeps for days. (I don't necessarily think this is a good thing.) I throw the ears in a large pot of boiling salted water and boil for 2 minutes. If you start with great corn, this will yield a great result.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                            Corn might keep for days, but the flavor does not. Corn is at its best within a day of picking. After that, the sugar starts to turn to starch and within a couple of days you have tough, tasteless corn. You really need to cook it the day you buy it; if you can't eat it that day, cook it and strip it off the cob.

                                            As for a cooking method, you can soak corn in its husk and throw it on the grill (it's a good idea to remove the silk first.) I generally do it in the microwave these days. I shuck it, then wrap each cob in a piece of damp paper towel. Three minutes on a side for 1-3 ears; four minutes for four ears. It comes out perfect. If you are stripping the kernels, scrunch up the paper towel and use it to hold the cob while you cut.

                                            1. re: brendastarlet

                                              That's no longer true of most of the supersweet hybrid varieties of corn that dominate markets (super and farmer's) these days, sad to say.

                                            2. re: pikawicca

                                              Yes, the reason that corn stays sweet for days now is that it's probably the most genetically modified produce out there. It's very difficult to be sure of what one is eating - all the more crucial if one has, for instance, allergies.

                                              Genes from corn are also used in almost everything, too. Makes living very difficult if one is allergic to corn!

                                              That said, I usually like my ears naked, with a brief boil - but now I know I have to try grilling them, even though grilling tends to be difficult here in my apt. (difficult - but not impossible for a true chowhound!)

                                              1. re: threedogs

                                                Most of the corn grown for consumers is hybrid, not GM. Completely different.
                                                What exactly are "genes for corn" spliced into?
                                                Corn and soy are showing up in far too many foods but not through gene-splicing.

                                                1. re: MakingSense

                                                  According to the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, as of 2004 (actually 2005, when the data were compiled) ALMOST HALF of corn grown in the U.S. was GM:

                                                  "In 2004, the percentage of U.S. soybeans planted in genetically engineered varieties again grew, accounting for 85 percent of all soy planted. This reflects an increase of 3.9 million acres and a total of 63.6 million acres of GM soy. The percentage of GM corn rose to 45 percent of all U.S. corn planted, with farmers planting 4.9 million acres more than in 2003 giving a total of 36.5 million acres of GM corn. "


                                                  Clearly it is INCREASING every year, so no doubt the current percentage is much higher.

                                                  1. re: ApartmentDweller

                                                    Well, since you've seen fit to revive a year-old thread...

                                                    The vast majority of the corn planted in the US is field corn. It's used to feed animals and to make cornmeal, ethanol, HFCS, etc. Sweet corn - the stuff you buy at the grocery - is a tiny percentage of total corn grown. And, as MakinSense noted, very little sweet corn is genetically modified.

                                            3. This has nothing to do with the corn-cooking subject of this post, but wanted to share a bit of corn trivia I learned last weekend. There is one string of corn silk for each kernel of corn in each ear. Kinda makes ya go *Hmmmmmmmmm.*

                                              1. As noted by others, plain unhusked corn with silk intact steams beautifully in the microwave or grills up nicely. My trick is to take a tall narrow vessel (a vase, a pitcher or anything else that's wider and taller than an ear of corn), fill it with warm water, and float a good layer of melted butter on top. Dip an ear in the pitcher, pull it out slowly, and voila--evenly buttered corn without any mess.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                  Somehow this sounds like corn-porn...:)

                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                    Oh, my, now it's going to be difficult to keep a straight face next time we serve corn on the cob.

                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                      Forgive me, please, Alan. Your technique is pure and innocent.
                                                      I flunked my Rorschach ink blot tests.

                                                2. I also really like grilling but don't often have the time to do so.Sometimes I'll soak in husk and oven roast, but the kids think it's too much work

                                                  Here's another steaming/boiling trick: Save the water, reduce and freeze. Rehydrate & reuse. Keep doing this until it's strong enough for you to use for a soup, chowder, or bisque,

                                                  1. No salt, no sugar (if it needs sugar, find another farm stand). Start corn in cold water, uncovered, bring to thorough rolling boil, then cover and take pot off the flame. Corn will keep, covered, up to an hour and taste freshly picked and cooked. Honest.
                                                    Grillers, grrrrr.

                                                    1. I just, very simply, boil for about a minute or two. Eat with butter and a dash of salt. I made a cilantro & pepper butter mash and sometimes use that. But the simpler the better for me.

                                                      My farmer actually has a count going on his blog about how many raw ears he eats out in the field vs. how many cooked ears he eats, during this corn season. So far, raw is winning! :)

                                                      1. I have taken to putting the corn into boiling lightly salted water that only comes maybe 1/3 the way up the ear. Turn after a minute. Remove between 2 and 3 minutes. Seems like a combo steam/boil thing goes on that avoids the watery thing that I get with corn if I boil in lots of water and accidentally leave it too long. My corn is sweet yellow, field picked all morning long until the stand sells out. Eat plain with just picked tomato wedges and quick pickled cukes

                                                        1. I can never wait that long for it to cook when the corn is fresh and lovely, so I pull some of the silk out and stick it in the microwave hull and all for about 3 minutes (like popcorn). It steams in its husk and tastes lovely.

                                                          1. Grilled corn (in the husks) is amongst my favorite food.

                                                            Please, please, please, people, don't tear the husks - the corn you've looked into can not be sold to anyone. Just buy one extra ear for insurance, if you're worried.

                                                            Another delicious cooking option - smoke it! It's great: Peel the ears, remove the silk, then loosely re-wrap with the husks. Water-smoke over hickory approximately 60 minutes. Butter and eat.

                                                            10 Replies
                                                            1. re: mirage

                                                              Grrr I hate when people tear the husks to check corn at the grocer's! Just last night I went to grill the corn I'd bought and realized one of the cobs had the husk pulled open then pushed back together so I didn't notice it when I bought it. And it was fine, so who knows why it was rejected.

                                                              Sometimes I husk corn, then wrap it in foil with a knob of butter and some s&p. Bake it at 350 for 30-40 minutes. This method comes in handy when I'm putting something else in the oven to bake for a similar time. The corn comes out perfectly done, no messing with a stick of butter and cleanup is a breeze.

                                                              1. re: mirage

                                                                I remove most of the silk and then re-wrap the leaves as best I can. I then dampen it and wrap it in a single layer of foil to the ear and roast it over a charcoal fire for 45-60 minutes.

                                                                1. re: Kelli2006

                                                                  you don't really need the foil. Rew-wrap the leaves, then put in a bucket of water to soak. Then throw the corn on the grill.

                                                                  1. re: Kelli2006

                                                                    Is there a reasonto remove the silks. Jfood used to do what you did for prep then figured, screw it and threw themonthe BBQ with the silk. Then when finished he peeled everything off at one time. No difference.

                                                                    And another question...45-60 minutes sounds waaaay toolong. jfood has them on for 15-20 and they are cooked fine.

                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                      if you leave the silks on, one of them will once in a while dry out and catch fire. then it's one ear spreading the conflagration to another, like the great chicago fire across your grill surface, and ashing in/on whatever other food you are cooking. luckily everyone who uses charcoal or gas grills has that water-filled spray-bottle at hand for emergency flare ups right!?!, remove any dangling leaves/leaf tips for this reason as well--the ear should be tightly closed with nothing hanging off of it to catch fire.

                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                        did you mean to write "cornflagration"?

                                                                        1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                          heh heh. cornflagration. i like it. i gotta new word. :)

                                                                        2. re: soupkitten

                                                                          never thought of the fire since it has never happend on jfood's gas grill. likewise he does not have a water bottle but is now considering one

                                                                        3. re: jfood

                                                                          I like the interspersed charred bits that start to form after 45 minutes. I remove the silk for the reason that SoupKitten stated because Ive found that they catch fire once they have dried out.

                                                                          Patti, I use the foil wrap to hold the leaves together.

                                                                    2. We strip the corn and lightly brush with some good olive oil so the pepper can stick. Grill it on the outskirts of the charcoal slowly as you cook the rest of the meal. Delish!

                                                                      1. I boil it. When water is at a rolling boil, I toss the corn in. When the water comes back to a boil, I boil for one minute and then turn it off and let it sit with a cover for 10 minutes. Perfect corn every time.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Chris VR

                                                                          When I have fresh corn but the weather ends up being particularly bad, I use this method. It's good too, but not as good as the grilled-in-husk method.

                                                                        2. Best way: Grow Golden Bantam in your garden. Get water boiling. Pick ears and strip off husks and silk. Simmer 5-6 nuinutes.

                                                                          1. My son-in-law is of Mexican descent, so he cooks his corn the way they do on the streets in Mexico. He has a bunch of sticks that he keeps, with points whittled on them. The stick goes in the end of the shucked cob. The cob goes on the grill. Corn gets rotated/cooked until kernels are golden. Th corn is served with wedges of lime & a plate of crumbled cojito cheese -- you squeeze/rub the lime over the corn, then roll it in the cheese. You eat it with the stick still on the end. Very messy, but really yummy. (cue the mariachi band).

                                                                            Personally, I prefer to cook my corn in less than an inch of water. I bring the water to a boil, throw the corn in, cover it up and cook for 3 minutes. No salt and no sugar (unless it's very early in the season & I think that the corn might not be sweet). Good corn shuld be very sweet and still very crunchy when you serve it.

                                                                            1. My days of boiling the taste out of corn are long gone. I agree with those who say naked is best, on the grill. I baste with a salted herb butter (thyme, basil, almost anything). You want to cook it on high as fast as possible by direct heat. I have cooked this dozens of times even with out of season imported corn and it is a hit every time. Although this is a recipe more than a tip: when we were in Baltimore last month we had corn with a mayo spread and lots of Old Bay Seasoning top with....feta cheese. I really don't like mayo but it is used to keep the seasoning on the corn (there'sa tip for you!) and melts away without adding much in terms of oil or taste. The recipe was from the chef at Ryleigh's on Federal Hill. We repliocated it this weekend after enjoying his corn and it worked great. The kids till prefer the herbed butter route, but this really worked for us adults. As always, try as many preparations as possible and go with your favourite...not much in food is an absolute.

                                                                              1. Another trick that I use on occasion for a change is to shuck the corn,spread good mayo over it and then roll in a mixture of cheese and panko and grill off the direct heat for about 10-15 minutes. Otherwise, start a pot orf water, shuck corn picked within the past 2 hours. salt, pepper and sweet butter. eat many ears.

                                                                                1. As a Southern boy, who grewed up where there's a bit of sugar in everything, I suggest a bit (not TOO much) of sugar in the water.

                                                                                  And BTW, to eat it, I use all the salt I want but no butter - I get a cleaner taste.

                                                                                  1. Hadn't thought to microwave so I'll try that.
                                                                                    I've been scraping the kernels and milk off 4-5 ears into a pan with ~ 2T butter or mix butter and bacon fat. Pan is at med heat. Cover and cook 6-8 mins. Salt or otherwise season to taste. Very good and the mess is out of the way.
                                                                                    Also made a delicious corn chowder from the recipe out of Victory Garden Cookbook. Added a bit of bacon since am addicted to BLTs at the moment.

                                                                                    1. Any firemen out there?
                                                                                      Classic festival prep

                                                                                      Take an empty coffee can and melt 4 sticks of salted butter in the can over a grill. Slather as many just picked ears of fresh Jersey corn (yellow or white) with the butter, sprinkle with old bay and grill until the kernels ooze ready.

                                                                                      A burger, a cold beer, Jersey corn!

                                                                                      1. To me, grilling already shucked corn on the grill dehydrates the kernals (although the char is tasty) and is not the best way to prepare the corn. I've never tried it grilled without shucking it first and that sounds good. I'm going to try it! Thanks, Jfood, and everyone else.

                                                                                        However, isn't this method of cooking it, essentially, steaming it? I like steaming corn because the kernals remain fully hydrated and tender.

                                                                                        Turning to condiments for corn on the cob, when I lived in Mexico, the Mexicans would put out a bunch of different ingredients at outdoor fiestas and let you choose how you wanted to dress your corn: halved limes for lime juice; a ground, flakey white Mexican cheese; red pepper flakes; chili powder; mayonaise; sour cream; salt; pepper; and a stick of butter. I was about fourteen at the time and had never considered eating corn on the cob with anything but salt and butter. I thought, "Man, what a good idea! Why didn't I ever think of that?"

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                          "However, isn't this method of cooking it, essentially, steaming it?"

                                                                                          No, when you put it on the grill, turn it every few minutes so that the husk gets browned, but not totally burnt. You will get the benefit of some char on the kernals but they don't get dehydrated. It's the best of both worlds.

                                                                                          1. re: valerie

                                                                                            The grilling seems to carmelize the sugar in the corn -- kinda like roasting veggies at a high temp. Also gives it a nuttier flavor (overtones of popped corn??).

                                                                                            BTW, I had forgotten about the mayo. The Mexicans also slather the mayo on the ear before rolling it in the crumbled cheese.

                                                                                        2. I like to strip the corn, rub with a favored butter (especially curry butter), wrap in foil and toss on a hot grill. Turn 1/4 turn every 4 minutes to cook for a total of 16 minutes. The foil will help keep it warm until ready to eat. Yummy!

                                                                                          1. Fresh, fresh, fresh. Do not peel the husk back to check if it's "good" when buying; feel the end A. should be moist B. the cob should feel pretty full through to the end. Husk just before steaming. Steam 6-8 minutes, until you can just smell the aroma. No sugar, no butter, probably not even salt. Boiling unnecessary use of water and time. If you're going to grill then definitely soak it.

                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: gourmanda

                                                                                              For me, I'd never buy corn without peeling back one ear to look at it. You can tell a lot from looking at the corn that you can't tell from feeling it. Big, fat, dull yellow kernels, for example.. that's cow corn and I'd rather go corn-less than eat that stuff. I'm not saying I peel back every ear but you have to at least peek at one of them. What I'm looking for are small, firm, "snappy" kernels, white are preferable.

                                                                                              1. re: Chris VR

                                                                                                There is a new "trend" in some of the supermarkets in my area. They provide large trash containers next to the corn display so that you can husk your corn right then and there. I don't like doing that unless I'm going to take it right home for dinner, but it does provide "permission" to strip the husk back to look at the quality of the ear.

                                                                                                1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                  I don't know if that is so much "permission" to strip an ear and possibly leave it to go to waste as it is the store finally giving in to consumer's notion that you need to peel the husk to check the quality. They have figured that people are going to do it, so they might as well provide a receptacle for the waste. If your store ever sells "cow corn" then maybe you need to shop at a store that provides better quality produce. I just think peeling back and ear is wasteful. Maybe I'm spoiled as I get to buy local corn in season picked by the farmer that morning. I don't peel it to check on it. If one or two ears ends up having a bug or "rust" so be it, that's why I buy an extra ear.

                                                                                                  1. re: gourmanda

                                                                                                    The bin thing weirded me out when I moved to Massachusetts 15 years ago. They had them at all the supermarkets and I'd never seen such a thing growing up on Long Island. My guess was that peeling corn can be messy at home in small city apartments and so the supermarket was providing a service to people who wanted to keep the mess out of their home. But I still thought it was weird and would never shuck before buying.

                                                                                                    As for "cow corn", it's just a fact of life here in the Northeast that corn is only good for about two months out of each year, when it's sourced locally. The rest of the year it's shipped in from Florida or wherever and it's just not good corn. I assume the breed grown in those states is one that's durable for shipping. Or maybe it's just because it's picked too far in advance of buying that all the sugars have turned to starch. Hey, I'll freely admit I'm a corn snob, because people keep buying it all year long, so cow corn must be good enough for most people. It's just not something I'd buy. Sometimes, even in cute farmer's markets, I've seen corn I wouldn't eat and would be irked to have paid for, so I'll keep looking. And to be clear, I will take a SMALL peek at one ear- an inch or two at the most- even at a farmstand, but as long as it looks OK, I wouldn't look at the rest. If the peek shows it's cow corn, I won't buy. If the peek shows it's a bad ear- shrivelly kernels or whatever, I'd peek at one more to see if it was an anomaly and if the second ear was as bad as the first, I'd pass it by. Bugs and rust don't bother me- I just cut that part out. Bad kernels are the only reason I'd peek and not buy.

                                                                                                    If the markets don't want people doing that sort of thing, They ought to display one partially shucked ear so buyers know what they are buying.

                                                                                                    1. re: Chris VR

                                                                                                      It's my understanding that if the corn is good, when you pierce a kernel with your fingernail, the liquid is milky. If it's clear, pass on it. The corn I've gotten this year has all been great, and I never bothered to examine it first.

                                                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                        I like to shuck 1 ear and take a bite. If it is sweet and delicious i buy a lot, if not i just buy that first one. I clean all that i buy so as not to mess up the kitchen.

                                                                                            2. You are all going to make me regret living in Paris. Nostalgic for corn straight from the Pennsylvania field. Back in those pre-grilling days, we boiled it two or three minutes, then devoured with butter. Must visit the US next summer.

                                                                                              1. I agree with everyone the fresher the corn the better. I husk my corn and wrap it in a wet paper towel and microwave it for two minutes. It comes out perfectly. The wet paper towel steams it and it is delicious!

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                                                                                                1. re: TFR1959

                                                                                                  Because of this thread, I tried microwaving. Left it in husk, no water and microwaved for 3.5 min. Didn't even add salt. Next time, I'll try less time. For a change, I did this straight from coming home from store with it so it's as fresh as I can find. Very good idea, no hot boiling water to contend with.

                                                                                                  1. re: walker

                                                                                                    2 and a half minutes is plenty for one ear of corn, maybe only 2 minutes in microwave is necessary.

                                                                                                2. What an awesome thread! I am trying some of these ideas! Today I nuked an extra ear of corn (I know, I know how can one have an extra ear of yummy corn? long story!) and thanks to all who posted about this technique! Not sure if I will do this when I have a dozen ears to cook but it's just the ticket for a night like tonight when I was making a quick dinner just for me! I tried wetting the husk and then just popping it in the microwave and it was tasty.

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: walker

                                                                                                      It doesn't much matter how long you nuke the corn for. Enough to get it hot.
                                                                                                      Fresh corn doesn't need to be "cooked" because you can eat it raw, right out of the field.

                                                                                                      I was surprised to find this out too, being mostly a city kid.
                                                                                                      A couple of years ago, I was sitting around in a corn field with a farmer friend of mine and he walked over, grabbed a couple of ears right off the stalk and handed me one.
                                                                                                      He shucked his and chowed down. I looked at him in shock and he said,"hey, fresh corn don't need cookin', try it!"
                                                                                                      It was great, just warm from the hot summer sun.

                                                                                                      I like mine hot so I nuke it for about 3 minutes. The silk falls right off so this is a great way for lazy people to clean and cook corn. Also good that you don't throw humidity into the kitchen from a pot full of boiling water.
                                                                                                      Easy to cook one or two ears for lunch or supper.
                                                                                                      Once I started using the MW, I never turned back.

                                                                                                    2. My aunt taught me how to cook corn on the cob at a beach house they were renting one summer over 35 years ago and I've always remembered that night. She put 20 ears of corn in a huge pot, covered them with cold water and added about a teaspoon of sugar. It doesn't matter how many ears of corn you have. Obviously, adjust the sugar for fewer ears. Bring the water just to a boil (uncovered) and turn off the fire immediately. You can let them set there for a few minutes or a couple of hours. It works perfectly every time!

                                                                                                      1. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/st...

                                                                                                        NPR's piece on corn and the corresponding recipes proved to be an excellent primer on corn lore and more.

                                                                                                        1. I apologize if I missed this description of condiments for corn in this thread, but in place of butter I love a mixture of salt with a bit of cayenne and lime. Squeeze some lime over an ear and then dust with a bit of the salt/cayenne mixture. Yum, yum, yum.... lots of flavor with no fat!

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                                                                                                          1. re: crispinjh

                                                                                                            In Mexico, the street vendors sell the roasted corn on a stick, with a squeeze of lime & then rolled in a crumbky cheese, like cojito. The cheese is salty (a little like a feta). Our Mexi relatives love the lime & salt.

                                                                                                            1. re: crispinjh

                                                                                                              I like it like that cris, but add mayo too!

                                                                                                              1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                Mayo is also big with the Mexi roasted corn-on-a-stick!

                                                                                                            2. I love putting just a little Clarified Butter on my corn. It really emphasizes the flavor of the corn and with a little salt is to die for.

                                                                                                              1. I just peek at the top to make sure there are no worms, then I throw the corn right on the hot grill...corn, silk, husks and all. I grill the ears for about 10 minutes, flip them over, then grill for another 8 minutes or so. I then shuck the corn after they cool a little, and remove the silk (it comes off very easily). The corn is moist and delicious! And can it get any easier?

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                                                                                                                1. re: bbbsites

                                                                                                                  Much - as mentioned several times upthread, into the microwave as is. 4 minutes or so, then shuck when you can handle the ear. Silks come off right along with the husk, all in one piece. Extra flavor from the husk, all in half the time of grilling. I lay 3 at a time in a triangle formation, which takes about 8 min.

                                                                                                                2. This is a simple foolproof way of cooking fresh corn, Preheat your oven to 375. Place your unwrapped, unshucked ears of corn in the oven for 40 minutes. You will be rewarded with roasted corn that is outstanding.

                                                                                                                  1. If a corn needs "doctoring" with milk and sugar, don't try this. But, if it's OK corn and you want it fast, just wrap each ear in a wet paper towel and microwave for 2/3 minutes and let sit for another 2 minutes.
                                                                                                                    Perfection every time and no mess!

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                      Once again, no towel needed. No shucking needed. Buy or pick your corn. Put it in the microwave. Nuke on high about 4 min for one ear. When cooled a bit, peel back the husk on either side. Silks come off along with husk. Eat.