Sometimes memories are so vivid you feel like you can taste them.
That’s how I feel about the sweet taste of corn on the cob fresh my grandparents’ farm.
My family would visit every summer. Grandpa would harvest corn in late July into August and I’d help my grandma shuck it for dinner. She always boiled it and served it so hot that a slab of butter would melt and slide down the side of the cob the second the butter touched it.
I couldn’t wait to nibble off the golden kernels in horizontal rows. It was a delicious tradition and a wonderful memory.
I still love corn on the cob although nothing compares to the flavor of farm fresh corn. For starters, corn is best consumed the day it’s picked because within 24 hours of picking, the sugars start to convert to starch and some of the flavor is lost.
That said, I recommend buying corn from a farmers market for the freshest corn possible. If you’re not going to eat it that day, pop it in the refrigerator to slow down the conversion.
If you’re substituting fresh corn for canned, as a general rule, when you cut corn off the cob, you get about ½ a cup of corn.
When cutting corn off the cob, a neat little trick is to place the cob in the hole of an angel food pan or Bundt cake pan and then scrape off the kernels so they fall into the pan without going all over the counter (Bundt works better because the hole is smaller). I saw this idea on Pinterest and it works beautifully.
Microwaving corn is my favorite cooking method because it’s so simple and fast. Simply pop the entire corn in its husk in the microwave and cook on high for 3-3.5 minutes; two ears for 4-5 minutes; three ears for 5-6 minutes. Allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes before you shuck it.
Another popular cooking method is to boil the corn. I always add a good dash of salt but also 1/3 cup of sugar to the water to bring out the sweetness. I particularly recommend this if you buy corn in the off season when it’s likely been shipped from far away and not as sweet. Boil corn for about 6-8 minutes. The older corn is, the longer it takes to cook because it’s starchier (add 1-2 minutes).
If you’re working with a bunch of corn, don’t toss the cobs when you’re done. Corn cobs can be used to make wonderful corn stock and frozen for corn chowder this winter. I boil 8-10 cobs with 5 cups water, 2 cups chicken stock, a carrot, two celery stalks, 1 bay leaf, and one sliced onion. Boil for an hour and then cool and freeze it for corn chowder this winter. If you want to use it right away, you can use it in place of water when making rice, quinoa or risotto.
That’s all the corn tips I have. I made this for my husband when we first met and it’s one of his favorite dishes to this day. This salad has celery, several types of bell pepper, red onion, parsley, basil and a light vinegar dressing.
It’s so refreshing on a hot summer day and goes with everything from sausages to chicken to burgers. It’s perfect for picnics and potlucks. And is an easy side dish for rotisserie chicken. The great thing about this corn salad is you can substitute canned corn in the winter.
Summer Corn Salad
3 ears of corn
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
¾ of a green bell pepper, chopped
½ an orange bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup chopped parsley
5 basil leaves, sliced thin
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 heaping tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
For the dressing, whisk ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
For the salad, cook corn according to your favorite method. If you’re microwaving, microwave on high in the husks for 5-6 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove husks and corn silks and cut corn off the cob and add to a large bowl.
Chop all your vegetables and add to corn. Add chopped parsley and basil and toss the salad with dressing. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours before serving. Leftovers keep for days in the refrigerator.