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Microwaving Fresh Corn

Got my first fresh corn of the season at the farmer's market and a friend told me she puts hers in the microwave, with the husk and silk still attached. She nukes them for 3 minutes and it is perfectly done, and very easy to remove the silk which of course is always a PITA. I tried it the other night and found that yes, it's very easy, but the taste seemed a bit, well, deflated and the silk was still a bit of a hassle. I did it again last night for 3 1/2 minutes and the silk came off much easier, but no improvement in taste. It could have been the corn itself but I've bought from that stall before and when cooked traditionally, the flavor was always exceptional.

Any thoughts on cooking corn this way? I'll probably pick up some more at the FM this weekend.


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  1. You may have missed this simple microwave method.

    Watch the video.


    Even though this is very easy I still find my self shucking corn and giving it a brief toasting over fire

    2 Replies
    1. re: scubadoo97

      Thanks for the link. I can't view the video right now (at work and restricted access) but just reading the comments alone convinces me that it's a easier method. I like the idea of holding it on one end and just letting it slide out...brilliant!

      Thanks again!

      1. re: alwayshungrygal

        If you haven't seen the video yet, it just involves leaving all the silk and husk intact, then chop off enough off the bottom to take about 1 inch off the cob. Remove any excess layers of husk and nuke the whole thing for about 3 minutes. When it's done, grasp the top portion of the corn firmly and you should be able to pull the husk and silk off in one piece. Works great - one of our local stores carries Brentwood sweet corn from CA and we've been stuffing ourselves before the season ends.

    2. I started using the microwave method two years ago when I wanted only one or two ears. Three minutes and then I use my silicone potholder s to peel and rub the silk off. I buy at the local farm stand and I think it tastes the same as when I make a larger amount by steaming.

      3 Replies
      1. re: breakfastfan

        Great suggestion to use a silicone potholder. I'll definitely do that (better than using a paper towel).

        Thanks for your response!

        1. re: alwayshungrygal

          I nuke my corn for anywhere between 3-5 minutes. Longer than 3:30 if there are more than 2 ears.

          I shuck them except for the last layer, and I remove the brown fluffy silk (?) on top.

          They always come out perfectly, and you can remove the rest of the husk & silk with paper towels -- comes off really easily.

        2. re: breakfastfan

          +1 and i also wrap it in foil leaving the top open, spray it with non-stick spray, sprinkle with salt and pepper (sometimes lime juice) and broil, rotating to brown evenly.

        3. Funny. I've been microwaving them for about 4-5 minutes. Maybe my microwave is underpowered.

          1. I microwave, 2 minutes per ear, but always shuck it first. Rinsing under cold water, after shucking, while using a hand to remove any stray silk works for me.

            I would not cook sweet corn without inspecting it first for critter damage.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MidwesternerTT

              If the corn is very fresh, 2 minutes is more than enough time to cook to keep the sweet flavor from turning starchy. I shuck, rinse, then wrap in a paper towel to hold in the moisture.

            2. I think nuking corn in the husk gives it a more corny flavor. Perhaps your corn wasn't the sweetest. Give it another try. I usually give 5 ears 5 minutes or so.

              1. I think it might have been your corn? I've never noticed a discernible difference in flavor between boiling and microwaving. Grilling or roasting, yes.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ludmilasdaughter

                  am thinking the corn too. last season's corn has little bearing on this year's harvest.

                2. Thanks for all the responses. I think I'm going to do a comparison. Split one ear in 1/2, shuck the top end and cook traditionally, leave the other 1/2 in the husk & silk and nuke.

                  I'm not yet convinced it's the corn--as I said, I've bought from that stall almost every year and the corn is always very good. I'll report back my results.

                  Thanks again.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: alwayshungrygal

                    curious where you on the map? fresh corn is at least a month away for me.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      Bay Area. The corn comes from Brentwood, is always good, and they always have a line until they sell out (which they always do). Too many "always" in one sentence but I don't know how else to say it!

                      Oh and very reasonably priced, $2.00 for 4 ears (white or yellow) IIRC.

                  2. I do it all the time. I usually wrap my ears (husk still on) in damp paper towels before putting them in the microwave. Then, I just use those paper towels to scrub off any remaining silk after I take off the husks. Works great!!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: jbsiegel

                      Another great tip--damp paper towels. Thanks!

                      1. re: alwayshungrygal

                        I use paper towels too. I wash the corn and while it's wet, wrap a paper towel around and it's the perfect amount of moisture for steam.

                      2. re: jbsiegel

                        exactly how I do it jb - find the damp paper towel works to improve cooking and shucking

                      3. I don't remember where I heard this method for cooking corn in the microwave, but I have been doing it this way for years. Every time I serve it, without fail, everyone loves it and wants to know how I do it. It has a great corn flavor, and a perfect, tender crisp texture. Here it is.

                        You need good-quality, microwave safe plastic wrap.

                        The corn should be shucked and free of silk first.

                        Put a piece of plastic wrap on the counter.

                        Rinse the corn to wash it, and quickly put it on the plastic wrap. You want the corn to have a good amount of water still on it; the water left on the corn steams it. I might even sprinkle a tad more water on it if I think it needs it.

                        Wrap up the wet corn well. I usually fold the wrap up over the ends, then roll the corn in the wrap.

                        You can cook it immediately or put the wrapped ears in the fridge for later.

                        When ready, put a wrapped ear in the microwave and cook for 4 minutes. Be careful when you unwrap it, the steam is very hot. I usually use a sharp knife tip to cut it the long way and then remove the corn;

                        I find I can do 2 or 3 ears at once for 4 minutes if they're not too big; you might want to add a little extra time if there are more than 2 ears and they are large.

                        I usually leave them wrapped and put them on a platter for people to unwrap their own.

                        This really comes out good.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: kookiefool

                          The appeal of the method my friend suggested (and seconded by other posters) is that the shucking is easier after microwaving. Meaning, the silk comes off easier, and it is less steps and you don't have to use plastic wrap. I tend to be in a hurry when cooking (as I am solo in the house, always) so the easier, the better for me. And, I tend to cook more than 1 veggie at a time, sometimes 3 or 4!

                          Thanks for your response!

                        2. I guess I don't understand the removing of the husk, only to wrap a paper towel around it.

                          You can just as well steam/nuke the corn in its husk and remove it afterwards with a paper towel, silk and all.

                          It seems like a completely unnecessary step. But I'm a lazy one.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: linguafood

                            Either way, the husk has to get removed. I don't think it's so hard to do, so I get it out of the way when it's far, far easier to handle out of the fridge.

                            1. re: monavano

                              I remove all but the innermost layer before nuking. Then I do the squeeze trick with the paper towel at the narrow end. Voilá.

                              1. re: linguafood

                                You can also shuck them entirely and nuke them bare naked. The corn that is. Or as you will. I find the setting for 4 baked potatoes does 6 ears just right. I prefer not to have to mess around with the husks and silk when they're hot.

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  I'll give the nekkid ears a shot next time. The last corn was only meh, so I might take a short break...

                                  1. re: linguafood

                                    We got some great NJ stuff this week. The stuff we had in Iowa was TERRIBLE, the store must have been sold feed corn by mistake.

                            2. re: linguafood

                              I take the husk and silk off outside over the compost dumpster. I wouldn't want to handle something hot this way. And inevitably a couple of ears will have inhabitants and I much prefer to knock them off before they're cooked.

                            3. Late to the discussion, but I'm surprised at how long other responders cook their corn in the microwave. I think people in many parts of the country eat their corn cooked a lot longer than we do.

                              When I cook a single ear in the microwave, I husk it, place it on a small bowl or plate that lifts it off the bottom of the microwave, and cook it on high for 1 to 1.5 minutes, depending on when it was picked, then leave it without opening the door for 2 or 3 minutes. The microwave seems to cook the core first, so allowing it to sit allows the heat to distribute through to the kernels and barely cook them.

                              I definitely prefer fresh corn briefly cooked in a vat of boiling water, but when I need a shortcut, that's how I cook corn in the microwave.

                              1. When I boil corn, I salt the water, when microwaving, no salt, so that could be the issue.

                                1. OP here. My 25+year old microwave isn't working too well (it smells of burning rubber after use) so unfortunately I haven't been able to cook anything since I originally posted. I will definitely try again after I get a new unit, assuming of course fresh corn is still in season. I've put off buying a new unit cuz I've found I can actually reheat almost anything without one. We'll see how long that lasts.

                                  Thanks again for all the responses, all have been very helpful!

                                  1. I got the lesson years ago (cooking show? magazine?) that corn doesn't need to be cooked, only warmed. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the corn, cover, remove from heat. Three to four minutes later, remove from water, butter and eat. Perfect every time.