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Aug 5, 2012 09:59 PM

How Long to Cook Corn?

I have always cooked my corn the same way--bring a pot of water to a boil, put corn in, bring back to a boil, reduce heat some and cook 5 minutes. This year, however, my corn is very crisp and chewy. Do I need to just cook it longer? Will it get mushy if I do? Or is this just another side effect of corn being grown in drought conditions? Help!

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  1. You cook it *that* long??

    I bring water to a gentle boil, drop in the corn for about 10 seconds, then scoop out.

    8 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Overcooking fresh corn is practically criminal. one or two minute boil or maybe 4 minutes in a steamer is probably about average for me. On the grill is fantastic...especially when some of the kernels begin to caramelize.
      Microwave works too, just not for more than 90 seconds.

      During my growing up years, we always had access to great, fresh corn in the summer...back in the days when there were farm stands just about everywhere you went in NJ (except the densest urban areas). I always loved it and still do to this day, although it pains me now to think back on how my mom cooked it in a 15 minute boil! When I went to college in Iowa for a few years, I learned quickly that fresh corn didn't need more than a minute or two of cooking. And the freshest corn didn't need cooking at all.

      1. re: The Professor

        One of the big long-running debates among my family back in Jersey when I was growing up was "Where to get the best sweet corn?"

        Fewer options now:(

        1. re: Heatherb

          I know. It's so sad, especially because of the fact that compared to just 40 years ago, "The Garden State" (as NJ is ironically still called) has so few farms left. So many farms have turned into housing developments full of expensive (but shoddily built) homes.

          NJ once had the _best_ sweet corn, tomatoes, and apples...all in abundance.
          Not any more.

          1. re: The Professor

            Honestly, it's kind of why I left. Staying seemed pointless when everything I loved about the place was being bulldozed over. Some of the best cropland in the country has been turned into McMansions. I'm in Colorado now, and it's so hard to get good veggies out of this soil! I can't believe farmers make a profit here.

            1. re: The Professor

              In 25 years removed from NJ to Delaware, we found the best sweet corn we've ever had. Grew our own tomatoes and the were never as good as Jerseys. Then we started buying seeds from the Jersey tomatoes we used to grow.
              Voila!! Delicious tomatoes again. Rutgers, Brandywine, and BeefMaster were the varieties we loved and have again.

            1. re: The Professor

              Yes, the shortest cooking time is the best, because after a short time the heat causes the natural sugars in the corn to start converting to starches, so your corn will not taste as fresh or sweet:

              1. re: mcraigw

                Also the shortest time from the stalk to the pot is very important. The natural sugars in sweet corn start to change to starches right away.

          2. Wrap an ear of corn in waxed paper, put in in the microwave on a plate or the rotating disc, microwave 2 1/2 minutes per ear on high. Done .... delicious. Careful; hot steam in the wrapped package when it comes out of the microwave.

            2 Replies
            1. re: todao

              Thanks, I'll give this a try. We just love corn--I buy it each week at the farmer's market during the season, and I've been very disappointed in the way it's been tasting this year.

              1. re: todao

                Even easier--no wrapping required.


                (Their time of 5 minutes seems long unless you have a really low powered microwave--I use 3 minutes)

              2. I steam my corn in an inch of water (a little more for a pot full). When it smells like corn it's done. I also like to put it on the grill and let it caramelize a little.

                1. We've had some odd corn this year, too. Chewy comes close to describing it but doesn't fully capture it. I find it pretty off putting. It's happened with grilled corn and boiled corn and with corn from a couple of different farmers.

                  If I'm cooking in water (as opposed to on the grill), I cook it pretty much as ipsedixit described.

                  1. For me, it really depends on how good the corn is. If it's really fresh and good enough to eat raw (Yes, I do that!), I will only cook it for a minute or two at the most. When it's really fresh and tender over cooking tends to turn it to mush. I think what I'm doing is just heating it up a little.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Burghfeeder

                      yes! freshly picked corn is wonderfully delicious raw - if you can find a roadside stand for 'just picked' ears. It's like eating candy.
                      I grew up eating Ohio sweet corn... now, when we're in Fresno, we'll stop at Fresno State to buy freshly picked corn.