One summer staple that I love to make often is fresh corn. You might be wondering how to cook corn on the cob. There’s nothing like intensely-flavored kernels waiting to burst open with flavor with every bite.
These three corn on the cob recipes are quick and easy and don’t even need fussy toppings (unless that’s what you like). I personally like mine with some olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. You can also try oil-free pesto as a fun option!
Is Corn A Vegetable, Grain, Or Both?
Corn is usually white or yellow but also comes in red, purple, and blue.
When eaten fresh, corn is considered a vegetable.
The kernel itself, though, is actually a whole grain made up of three layers: the outer bran layer, the inner nutrient-rich germ layer, and the starchy endosperm layer. Dried corn, including popcorn, is classified as a whole grain.
Once corn is milled to remove the bran and germ, it becomes a refined grain. When buying foods made with corn such as tortillas, breakfast cereals, and cornmeal, look for “whole corn” or “whole grain corn” on the ingredient list.
Health Benefits Of Corn
When eaten boiled or steamed without any salt or butter, corn has an impressive nutrition profile.
One large ear of corn, which yields about one cup of corn kernels, has 143 calories, 5 grams of protein, and 31 grams of carbohydrates. Corn is also a decent source of fiber, providing 3.5 grams per one cup. Studies show that the bran in corn promotes satiety, helping you feel full for longer.
Sweet corn is also a source of thiamine, folate, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium. Yellow corn has high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that may prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
How To Choose The Best Corn
Just like potatoes, corn starts converting its sugars to starches as soon as it’s harvested, so to get the best quality and sweetest ears of corn, you want to get it as soon as possible after it is harvested.
Local farmers’ markets are your best. If that’s not an option, you can try your local organic food store. Basil Bandwagon is my go-to local store because I always get fresh ears of organic corn.
Here are some tips on how to pick the best ears of corn.
1. The husks. What to look for: husks that are wrapped tightly around the cob and slightly damp. What to avoid: corn with husks that are dry or yellowish.
2. The tassels (corn silk). What to look for: tassels that are brown or golden in color, silky, slightly sticky and moist. What to avoid: brittle tassels or if they are black and dry.
3. The stalk (bottom of the corn). What to look for: a green stalk is a good sign of freshness. What to avoid: if the stalk is brown, the corn is likely a few days old.
4. Check for insect holes. If you see tiny brown holes in the husk, there might be worms or other bugs in the corn.
5. Feel for plump kernels. Feel for firm, plump kernels through the husk. If you feel soft or empty spots where kernels are missing, pick another ear of corn.
6. Skip the GMOs. Buy organic for great flavor, pesticide avoidance, and more biodiversity.
Preparing The Corn
Once you purchase corn, eat it as soon as you can. Keep your corn as fresh as possible by waiting until just before cooking to prepare them.
Shuck the ears of corn by removing the husks, tassels, and any damaged portions of the cob. If you usually have a hard time removing all of the tassels, a corn brush can come in handy.
Trim the ends of the ears of corn. Use a sharp knife to cut off the bottom and remove any tips that are damaged or discolored. Depending on the size of your pot, you may need to trim the ears slightly or cut the cobs in half.
How to Cook Corn On The Cob – 3 Ways
The method you choose for cooking is based on what’s most convenient for you. The following three ways will yield a similar taste profile and leave you with plump and juicy kernels.
Boiled Corn On The Cob
Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the corn. Bring it to a boil and add the corn. Cover and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the corn until the kernels are tender, which can take anywhere between 6 to 8 minutes.
Steamed Corn On The Cob
My trusty stainless steel steamer basket is my go-to when steaming vegetables. Add water to a pot and then place the steamer basket in it. Make sure the water level is not above the bottom of the basket. Add the corn and cover the pot. Heat on high until the water starts to steam. Cook the corn for about 4 to 6 minutes or until the kernels are tender.
Pressure Cooker Corn On The Cob
You can use a stovetop or electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot is a popular brand) to cook the corn. Pour some water into the pressure cooker base and add the corn. Cook at high pressure for 2 minutes.
Best Toppings And Seasonings For Corn On The Cob
Once the corn is ready, you can serve it with a pat of vegan butter (I like Miyoko’s) and sea salt. For healthier alternatives, you can use olive or coconut oil. Add lime and chili powder for zest and flavor. The possibilities are endless. Have fun with it!
Storing The Corn
Before cooking: If you plan to cook within a few hours, store fresh ears of corn at room temperature. For longer storage, wrap the corn tightly in a plastic bag without removing the husks and store in the refrigerator. Cook within 1 to 2 days.
After cooking: Let the corn cool and refrigerate within two hours of cooking. Place the corn in a ziplock bag or store in an airtight container. Eat within 3 days. The corn can also be placed in a ziplock bag and frozen for up to 3 months. You can use the steaming method to reheat corn after freezing. To avoid overcooking, start with a 1-minute cook time and add more time in small increments until they are thoroughly warmed.Print Print Print
If You Enjoyed Learning How to Cook Corn on the Cob 3 Ways, Then You Should Try…
My summer veggie burger recipe that goes well with corn on the cob.
This simple summer corn soup recipe from The Minimalist Baker.
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* The instructional video has been sponsored by Basil Bandwagon Natural Market. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
**Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission for purchases made through them.