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Sweet Corn: The Summer Staple

Our Peachtree Corners garden guru has advice on cooking and serving one of America's favorite summertime vegetables.

My uncle is a career farmer and his main crop for over 40 years has been corn.

Having full meals that consisted solely of Uncle Al's corn on the cob was a staple of our summer meal schedules while I was growing up, and I loved every serving.

I look forward to this time of year every summer, when July and August meals are anchored with platters of corn.  Our CSA boxes from Riverview Farms often contain a dozen plus ears of organic corn, starting in early July, often stretching to the end of August. 

My favorite method of cooking corn, because I feel it brings out the best flavor in the kernels, is boiling. However, there are several other popular ways of serving up this summer favorite:

Grilling:

  • Soak the corn (in husks) in water for 15 minutes.
  • Place the corn directly on the grill (set at medium high), turning every 5-10 minutes until the husks are dark brown (burnt looking).

Microwave:

  • Soak the corn (in husks) for 30 minutes.
  • Place corn (in husks) in microwave for 8 minutes (for 2 pieces). 
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then remove husks.

Steam:

  • Remove husks and silk from corn.
  • Steam in a steamer for 10-15 minutes.

Boil:

  • Remove husks and silk from corn.
  • Submerge corn in boiling water.
  • Boiil for 1-10 minutes (depending on how firm you like the kernels).
  • For sweeter corn, add some sugar to the water during boiling.
  • For extra crunchy corn, add milk to the water during boiling.

To serve:

  • Serve corn on a platter with pronged holders (if serving piping hot).
  • Have a room temperature stick of butter on the side so people can roll their corn over the butter.
  • Salt is a must!
  • Other unique ideas include: adding herbs to the butter, like basil, chives, or rosemary. Using garlic salt, onion salt or parmesean cheese in place of regular salt.

If you run into a bumper crop of corn and have more ears on your hands than you can eat, my suggestion is this: boil the corn and allow to completely cool.  Using a sharp knife on a cutting board, remove all the kernels. Place kernels into freezer bags and store for up to six months.

I give the "corn cob bones" to my dog, who chews on them for a while before she eventually buries them somewhere in the back yard. 

 

Cathy Freeman July 12, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Thanks for the article. I've heard that all the corn available now is genetically modified. Is that true? Even this organic corn and even the corn that say the Hopi Indians of Arizona grow? I'm just curious as I am avoiding corn anyway on my reduced carb diet.
Tom H July 12, 2012 at 05:05 PM
This is a good way to get all the silk off the corn. This is the neatest trick I have seen in sometime. I'm going to have to try it out and see if this really works. If it does what he demonstrates, it's the slickest thing since the invention of Grandma's washing machine! Click here-->: Those Pesky Corn Silks
Carla Snyder July 12, 2012 at 06:30 PM
I have frozen corn in the husk just as it comes off the stalk. This is the easiest way I have found to have great corn long after the season is over. Place the corn in a garbage bag and freeze. When you want corn, Thaw ears for an hour then remove from husk. Run the ear under cold water and slide the remaining silk off with your hands. You can then boil or nuke the ears as you wish. No more blanching and cutting corn off the cob in my house!!
Nancy Minor July 13, 2012 at 03:38 AM
Could you please explain how the CSA boxes work ? I am very interested.I have heard something about it but do not know details. I could taste fresh corn and sliced tomatoes as I read your article

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