Corn on the cob is a summertime staple that can be enjoyed in so many ways. While boiling corn on the cob is a classic way to cook it, you can also grill, steam, or roast it... you can eat corn in so many ways! But how long does it take to get perfectly tender and sweet corn? We've had a few family parties and barbeques and tried until we found the perfect way to cook corn!
What is Corn?
Corn, also known as maize, is a cereal grain that originated in the Americas (Central Mexico) over 7,000 years ago.
It's one of the most important crops in the world, grown for both human consumption and animal feed. Corn is a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
It comes in many different varieties and can be used in a wide range of dishes, from cornbread and tortillas to popcorn and corn chips.
How to Choose the Best Corn for Boiling
When it comes to boiling corn, freshness is key. Look for ears of corn that are firm, plump, and have bright green husks.
The silk should be moist but not slimy, and the kernels should be tightly packed with no gaps or dents.
If you can, choose locally or regionally-grown corn, as it will be fresher and have more flavor. Check the "use by" or "sell by" date on the packaging, and avoid any corn that looks wilted or has moldy spots.
How Long To Boil Corn On The Cob
To boil corn on the cob, you'll first need to husk it and remove the silk; once done, wash it under cold water to remove any remaining silk before cooking corn in the next steps.
Next, you'll want to bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the fresh sweet corn and cover the pot with a lid. Boil it for about 5-7 minutes, depending on its freshness and size. You want the kernels to be tender but not chewy. If you're using frozen corn on the cob, you may need to add a minute or two to the cooking time.
When the corn is done, remove it from the pot with tongs and allow it to cool for a few minutes before serving. You can also brush it with butter, sprinkle it with salt, Parmesan cheese, or other seasonings, or enjoy it plain!
How To Store
When it comes to storing corn on the cob, it's best to keep it in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook it.
Fresh sweet corn should be eaten within a few days, as older corn may start to lose its sweetness, texture, and flavor. You can store it in the fridge in a plastic bag or wrapped in foil to help keep it fresh.
If you have leftover sweet corn, you can store it in the fridge for up to four days. Simply wrap it in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container.
Tips for Boiling Corn
1. Choose Fresh Corn
- The quality of the corn is essential when boiling, as it is important to choose corn that is fresh and sweet.
- Avoid corn that has dull or dark spots as they might indicate the presence of fungus or rot.
- An easy way to check if the corn is fresh is to press a kernel to ensure it is plump.
- If you purchase corn from the grocery store, the husk should be green and kept in a refrigerated section to preserve its freshness.
- Terminology fun fact: Shucking corn is a simple process that involves removing the husks and silk from the cob.
2. Don’t Overcook the Corn
- Corn should not be boiled for too long, as it will cause it to become tough and chewy and lose its sweet flavor.
- When boiling corn, it should be done for 5-7 minutes maximum, depending on the size, however, it shouldn't be undercooked either.
- One way to know if the corn is cooked is to pierce it with a fork, and if it can penetrate the kernels easily reaching the corn cob, then it is ready to be taken off the heat.
3. Add Salt or Sugar (or Milk)
- One of the simplest ways to enhance the flavor of boiled corn is by adding salt or sugar.
- Adding salt helps to bring out the natural sweetness of the corn, while sugar enhances the sweetness of the corn if it’s not as sweet as expected.
- Along with salt or sugar, milk can be added to give the corn a distinct flavor, as it gives - corn a creamy texture and a subtle flavor that complements the natural sweetness.
- You can also experiment with adding other seasonings like garlic, thyme, or rosemary to the water for a more complex flavor profile.
Best Ways To Boil Corn On The Cob
1. Water and Salt
The simple and traditional way to boil corn is using water and salt. Fill a pot of water, enough to submerge the corn, and add a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil and add the corn. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the corn is tender. Using this method preserves the natural sweetness of the corn while providing that perfect crunch.
2. Milk and Butter
Another way to boil corn to get a creamy texture and a richer flavor is by using milk and butter. Fill a pot with equal parts of water and milk and add a tablespoon of unsalted butter. Let the mixture come to a simmer before adding the corn. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the corn is fully cooked. This method is perfect for those who prefer a sweeter and creamier taste for their corn.
3. Sugar And Lemon Juice
The third way to boil corn on the cob is by using sugar and lemon juice. This method adds a tangy and sweet flavor to the corn. Fill a pot with water and add a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Place the husks in the boiling water and cook for 5-7 minutes. This method is perfect for those who want to make a unique and flavorful corn topping.
How To Reheat Corn On The Cob
If you’re making boiled corn for later or have leftovers, they can easily be reheated. The best way to reheat boiled corn is by using a microwave or stovetop.
- For the microwave method, dampen a paper towel and wrap it around the corn before placing it in the microwave. Heat the corn for about 20 seconds, then check if it’s hot enough. If not, continue to heat for 10-second intervals.
- For the stovetop method, fill a pot with enough water to submerge the corn and let it boil. Add the corn and heat until the corn is hot; this process takes about 5-7 minutes.
People Also Ask [FAQs]
Milk adds sweetness and richness to the kernels, while also providing a buttery flavor.
Yes, you can boil corn in the husk, which usually takes about 10 minutes.
If the corn has a rancid or moldy smell, is slimy and mushy to touch, or has visible mold on it, then it should be discarded as it has gone bad.
Wrap Up: How Long Does Corn On The Cob Take To Boil
- Boiling corn on the cob is a simple and delicious way to enjoy this summer staple and all you need is a pot of salted water, some fresh or frozen ears of corn, and in 5-7 minutes you will have perfectly cooked kernels that are tender but not chewy.
- Whether you’re boiling it with water and salt, milk and butter, or sugar and lemon juice, there are plenty of ways to bring out its natural sweetness while adding an extra layer of flavor.
- Leftover cooked corn can be reheated both in the microwave as well as on the stovetop.
- If you want a taste of Mexican street corn [locally known as elotes], which uses grilled corn, simply pan fry the cooked corn in a frying pan once cooked and remove it as soon as it starts gaining color. Garnish with a mixture of mayonnaise, sour cream, cojita cheese [or Parmesan cheese if you can't find it], some chili powder or seasoning of your choice, and of course, a nice squeeze of lime on top.
Perfectly Boiled Corn On The Cob
- 6 ears fresh corn on the cob with husks and silks removed
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 4 quarts water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- Fill a large stockpot with enough water to cover the ears of corn.
- Add salt to the water and bring it to a boil.
- Once the water is boiling, carefully add the ears of corn to the pot.
- Boil the corn for 5-7 minutes until they are tender.
- Remove the corn from the pot using tongs or a pair of kitchen mitts.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan and drizzle it over the cooked corn.
- Garnish it with some parsley (optional) and serve the corn on the cob hot!
- Remember to remove the husks and silk from the corn before boiling them.
- Do not overcook the corn as it may become tough or chewy.
- Adding salt to the water before boiling makes the corn more flavorful, as the salt won't just be on top.
- Adding butter to the corn after cooking is optional but adds an extra flavor punch.
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