Cooking Fresh Corn on the Cob

Cooking Fresh Corn on the Cob
Summer will be here soon and so will delicious, summer corn. Who can resist fresh corn on the cob? An old friend of mine once told me that the best way to prepare fresh corn on the cob was to first bring a large pot of fresh spring water to a boil over high heat. He said that the second the water comes to a rolling boil, grab a pair of heavy shears and a piece of kitchen twine and head out the back door to the vegetable garden.

Once you have reached the garden, carefully wade through the tall stalks of corn until your mojo tells you that you have located The Ultimate ear of corn. Gingerly run your fingers over the husks, making sure that the hidden kernels are moist and mature.

Now comes the critical part. Snap or use the shears to cut off the chosen ear of corn from the stalk and run like heck back to the kitchen. If you are truly talented, you can pull back the husk while running and pull off the silk. As you run past the compost heap, throw the silk in the pile and rewrap the ear of corn with the husk, securing it with the kitchen twine.

If you were thinking ahead, you would have propped the kitchen (screen) door open on your way out. If not, on your way back in, just push the screen door open, run through it and let it slam closed behind you. At this point, you will probably have to ignore your wife (husband, partner)screaming at you for letting the screen door bang closed. At this point, it doesn’t matter. You are on a mission. You brush past her and drop the ear of corn into the rapidly boiling water. Cover the pot with a lid and allow to steam for 3 – 4 minutes or until the corn is cooked. Remove the cooked ear of corn from the water with tongs, cool until you can handle without burning your fingers, remove the husk and enjoy the best tasting corn on the cob ever!

Anyone that has ever grown corn knows that my friend is right. Cooking immediately after harvesting is the only way to eat fresh corn. The reason is that immediately after harvesting, the corn’s natural sugars begin to turn into starch. The end result is that the corn will lose its juicy sweetness and become mealy and starchy.

When purchasing fresh corn, the husks are a good indicator of how fresh the corn is. Look for ears of corn with moist, green, tight husks with fresh dry silk that is pale gold to golden brown in color. Gently pull the husk back from the tip of the corn. The kernels should be plump and milky, with tightly packed rows that come all the way to the tip of the cob.

Corn Tips

• 2 ears medium ears of corn will yield 1 – 1 1/4 cups of kernels

• Corn is best cooked the day it is purchased. Store corn in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for no more than 1 – 2 days.

• Remove husks and silk right before cooking.

• Corn is sweeter cooked with the husk on. Just before cooking, pull back the husk, remove the silk, then rewrap the husk around the corn and tie with kitchen twine.

• Corn should be cooked in a large pot covered of boiling water until just done – about 3 – 5 minutes.

• Salting the cooking water will make corn kernels tough.

• Add a pinch of sugar to cooking water for sweeter corn.

• To grill corn on the cob, pull back the husk, remove the silk, then rewrap the husk around the corn and tie with a metal twist-tie (not plastic). Soak in ice cold water for 15 minutes, to keep the husks from burning. Place on a hot grill and grill for 15 – 30 minutes.

• Season corn before grilling for a flavorful side dish. Simply unwrap the soaked ears of corn, season the unwrapped corn by rubbing with soft butter and no-salt seasonings. Rewrap the corn with the husks and tie the ends closed with metal twist-ties. Place on a hot grill and grill for 15 – 30 minutes.

• Don’t put husks, silk, or cobs in the disposal.

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