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Aug 14, 2012 08:16 PM

Should Corn on the Cob just heated or does it need to be cooked?

I recently ate BBQ at a Nor Cal Farmers house who grew several acres of corn.

He and his wife were quite adamant that good corn just needed to be heated though and not "cooked"
and certainly never boiled.

They just simmered their corn for 10 minutes.

It was of course was the best corn on the cob I have ever far.

Plus you did not have to wait for it to cool down to eat it.

It was Fantastic!

What do you Chowhounders think?

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  1. Simmered 10 minutes? Sounds cooked to me.
    A quick check of corn-on-the-cob recipes showed boiling times ranging from 5 to 10 minutes.
    Since simmering is just a few degrees below boiling, 10 minutes simmered should equal more than 5 minutes boiling, or am I missing something?.

    1. um.... simmered for 10 minutes IS cooked corn, lol.

      i have had corn fresh off the stalk and it's edible, but heat/steam definitely unlocks the starch and sugars and makes it so much better.

      i usually steam it for under 10 minutes, but the stuff we cook is picked that day. we only eat corn local and in-season, from a few farms. nothing like supermarket corn which we don't ever buy anymore.

      1. Hold on a minute; gotta get control of this uncontrollable laughing about your dinner host's statement .....
        "They just simmered their corn for 10 minutes."?
        That's cooking .... perhaps not lengthy cooking, and perhaps cooking at a lower temperature than a full rolling boil (simmer usually runs between 185 and 195 degrees) but cooking nonetheless. I agree that over cooking corn is (or should be) a sin and that all too often corn is cooked so long it becomes disgusting (ever had that stuff at the fried chicken place with mashed potatoes and a biscuit?)
        A number of years ago I found that an ear of corn wrapped in waxed paper and heated in the microwave on high for about 2 - 2 1/2 minutes produced a nearly perfect result every time. Because I usually cook for two I routinely use two ears and 4 - 5 minutes.

        3 Replies
        1. re: todao

          I love the micro method too, todao - and do it all the time. We've got supersweeeeeeeet white corn hitting the stores, and I've been using raw kernels in tons of different salads.

          1. re: mamachef

            If I don't do corn on the grill I do it in the nuculator. I just toss it in there a couple minutes an ear. Shuck and all.


            1. re: mamachef

              So do I. I like that I can add seasonings and have piping hot corn on the cob in 2 minutes.

          2. When it's that fresh it doesn't even need the 10 minutes if it's the right variety. Unfortunately the conversion of sugar to starch happens very quickly once the corn is off the stalk. I've seen estimates of 50% sugar loss in just a few hours. That sounds high to me but it's in that kind of neighborhood.

            So I'd say that your farmer friend is right as regards his corn on his farm in his kitchen. Take that same dozen ears home and refrigerate them until tomorrow, however, and you're not even going to be happy boiling it; you'll want to grill or broil it to coax out the sugars that remain.

            4 Replies
            1. re: nokitchen

              this is ONLY for the "picked fresh that day" variety. they grow a different variety for supermarkets, generally, and it has a lower sugar loss, from what I understand.

              1. re: Chowrin

                You're quite right, of course. I referenced the "right variety" but I should have made it more clear that that variety (or those varieties) are what you might find at a farmer's market or from the farmer directly as opposed to one's grocery store, which are as different from farmer's market corn as it is from feed corn. Thanks for sharpening my answer. :-)

                1. re: Chowrin

                  Actually, at least here in the Northeast, farmstands and farmers' markets haven't featured old-fashion sweet corn varieties in at least 15 years: all the varieties grown and sold as sweet form are enhanced in some way so that the sugar conversion process is no longer the rapid-fire thing of the past. Some varieties are a bit faster than others, but it's nothing like corn of 40+ years ago.

                2. re: nokitchen

                  Where's the "like" button on this thing? :)

                3. Yeah- 10 minutes is cooking..... maybe overcooking for good fresh corn.

                  Just for the record, I soak the corn, in the husk in cool water, for 15 minutes or so, then grill it. It steams in the husk, for about 7 minutes, and it's wonderful- no simmering for 10 minutes.

                  Peel back the husks for a tidy handle.