Discover a little-known tip for cooking this classic side dish
Best to buy
Peak season for fresh corn is May until the end of September.
Cut & clean
Strip off the husk and silk just before cooking.
Grill to perfection
Peel back the husks, remove the silk, and then bring the husk back over the cob. Soak corn ear
(husks and all) in water for 15 minutes. Place on grill to steam corn in husks and pull back
husks to eat.
Also indexed as: Baby Corn, Blue Corn, Cornmeal, Grits, Hominy,
Masa, Sweet Corn, White Corn, Yellow Corn
Preparation, uses, and tips
Fresh sweet corn must be cooked and is generally steamed or boiled and served as a side
dish. Strip off the husks and silk just before cooking.
To boil, bring a large pot of water to bubble over high heat. Cook in batches, with husks
and silks removed, adding a few ears at a time, so the water continues boiling. For fresh
young corn, cook for 30 seconds—just long enough to heat the corn through; boil more
mature corn for up to three minutes. Do not add salt to cooking water since that will toughen
To steam, remove husks, arrange corn on a steaming rack, and place the rack over about 1
inch (2.5cm) of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and steam for about 10 minutes.
Grilled corn on the cob is a summertime favorite. (The cob or the ear of the corn plant is
actually a branch.) First, peel back the husks and remove the silk, then bring the husk back
over the cob. Soak the corn ears in their husks in cold water for a few hours before
grilling—this moisture will let the corn steam as it grills, making it juicier. To
grill, wrap each ear of corn tightly in aluminum foil, place on a prepared preheated
medium-hot grill, and cook for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally, until corn is tender.
Serve hot off the grill, with butter or margarine, if desired.
Corn husks are used primarily in making tamales, but they are also used to wrap other foods
for steaming. Latin markets sell packaged cornhusks, which must be softened before using. To
do so, soak husks in very hot water for about 30 seconds, then drain, pat dry, and use
according to the recipe.
Fresh corn kernels may be used as an ingredient in soups, stews, casseroles, puddings,
relishes, and breads.
Corn is used to make cornmeal, which is simply finely ground corn kernels. Cornmeal is used
to make cornbread. A coarser grind is also used to make polenta, a popular Italian dish.
Polenta can be served hot with butter or margarine, if desired, or cooled until firm and then
cut into squares and fried. It is often mixed with cheese and topped with savory
Corn is also used to make masa, the form of cornmeal used in tortillas. Cornstarch is derived from the endosperm
portion of the corn kernel and is most commonly used as a thickening agent.
Hominy, served as a side dish or as a casserole ingredient, is another way of preparing
corn. A staple of the American Indians, hominy is made from dried white or yellow corn kernels
from which the tough hull and germ have been removed. It is available canned, ready-to-eat, or
dried. Usually, ground hominy is called “grits.” This side dish is prepared by
simmering the corn bits with water or milk until thick, much like oatmeal.
Today, the most popular varieties of corn are white (Country Gentleman) and yellow (Golden
Bantam). Yellow corn has larger, buttery-flavored kernels, while white corn kernels are
smaller and sweeter. Blue corn (which is literally blue) has the widest range of flavor
components and is often used as an ingredient in
Canned and frozen corn are widely available, and dehydrated corn is a common ingredient in
Everyone’s favorite movie partner,
popcorn, is made from a corn variety that “pops” when exposed to dry heat,
forming a featherweight, white, starchy mass many times the size of the original kernel. Most
often served plain or topped with butter,
popcorn is also sold topped with cheese,
caramel, and other flavorings.
Indian corn has white, red, purple, brown, or multicolored kernels. It was the original
corn grown by American Indians and is often used in the fall for decoration.
Tiny cobs of baby corn, often found in Thai or Chinese cooking, are sold in cans or jars.
Fresh baby corn is also available and can be enjoyed either raw or cooked.
Corn (sweet, yellow, raw), 1 ear, medium (6
3/4–7 1/2 inches [17.1–19cm] long) (90g)
Total Fat: 1g