Cooking Fresh Corn on the Cob

This Fantastic Summer Vegetable Is an All-American Food

Close-Up Of Corn
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When the corn is as high as an elephant's eye (wth apologies to "Oklahoma" lyricist Oscar Hammerstein), it's time to bring home a few ears and eat them on the same day for the best possible taste. There's nothing quite like corn on the cob, biting into that crunchy texture, buttered, salted and peppered just right. 

It's very easy to cook: Just shuck the corn, rinse and steam. And with that little bit of effort -- and using the freshest corn possible -- you have a summer treat extraordinaire.

But there are a few tricks of the trade that can make or break your feast. For example, overcooking is a common mistake, and that can make it get a little bit gummy, which ruins the whole show.

How to Cook Corn on the Cob

Cooking fresh corn on the cob is easy and quick. It takes about 15 minutes to steam corn from start to finish.

Here's how:

  1. Fill a large stockpot halfway with unsalted water and bring to a rolling boil.
  2. Add the ears of corn (husk and cornsilk removed) to the boiling water.
  3. Let the water return to a full boil.
  4. Cover the pot and immediately turn off the heat.
  5. Let the covered pot sit undisturbed on the burner for 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the ears of corn and serve hot with your choice of butter, margarine, salt and/or other seasonings. A delicious one to add is Maryland's famous Old Bay seasoning. You can make a homemade version of that called Chesapeake Bay seasoning.

Tips:

  • Be sure the corn is as fresh as possible. Eating on the day you buy the corn is a traditional rule of thumb. The leaves should be green and pliable, and the silk should be dry, not soggy.
  • Avoid buying corn with the husks removed. It is probably old, and the husk keeps it fresher.
  • If you can't eat the corn on the day you buy it, cook it within 24 hours of purchase.
  • Overcooking toughens corn.
  • Do not salt the water. Salt toughens the corn. Sugar can be added at 1 teaspoon per quart of water, but it shouldn't be necessary.

    What You Need:

    • Large stockpot with lid
    • Fresh corn on the cob, shucked
    • Butter, margarine, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and other seasoning or condiments of choice

    What to Serve With Corn on the Cob

    Naturally, the first thing that comes to mind to serve with fresh corn on the cob is -- yes -- burgers. Steaks also top the list. Also up there is Southern fried chicken or its summer cousin -- chicken cooked on the grill outside.

    Beyond those basic ideas, think about chicken tacos; steak gyros; Lowcountry boil with corn, andouille sausage, fingerling potatoes, shrimp, onion and Old Bay seasoning; Cajun catfish or Cajun seafood boil.