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Pantry Basics

Corn on the Cob 101
July 30, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Farmers’ markets were not a full-time affair growing up, so in the off-season, most of our vegetables came from a can. Come summertime, though, I remember by mom rifling through mounds of fresh-picked corn on the cob. She’d gently pull back the husks to peek at the top kernels, making sure it was worth the asking price. Try doing that today, and your friendly farmer may start giving you the evil eye. They’re likely worried you’re going to strip away too much—I’ve seen this happen more times than I can count.

So, how exactly are you supposed to know which cobs are the best to buy?

  • Give it a gentle squeeze to make sure the kernels are plump and firm.
  • Look for soft, golden silks peering out from the top, underneath the husks. Speaking of husks, they should be green and somewhat tender—take a pass if they’re brown or dried out.
  • Give it a sniff—fresh corn on the cob should have a sweet, milky scent.

And if you can’t help but take a peek, pull away just a small amount to get a glimpse of the top kernels of corn. Once you’ve got your cobs in hand, the options are endless. For my first taste of fresh corn, there’s nothing like grilling them, then tearing away the husks and silk to enjoy that first sweet bite as-is. After I’ve had my fill, it’s time to get cooking with a few of these favorite recipes.

Summer Corn Chowder from In Jennie’s Kitchen

Corn on the Cob with Feta-Mint Butter from Simple Bites

Spicy Corn Fritters from Simply Recipes

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