Hands down, the biggest perk of living in Iowa is the irreplaceable homegrown sweet corn. Amiright? With sweet corn stands on nearly every corner we are stocking our fridge (and freezer, if I muster up the ambition) with all the freshly-picked corn we possibly can. We are grateful to have farmers in the family, so corn on the cob is officially a staple in our dinner menu this time of the year. OK fine, I’ll confess, corn is sometimes all that’s on our menu this time of year, and we love it! For that reason, I’ve been experimenting with a few different ways to prepare our summertime favorite.
Until recently I was a tried-and-true sweet corn boiler. I didn’t do anything special, just boiled a big pot of water and threw in the shucked and cleaned corn until tender. At our house, simple food takes the win, so boiled corn smothered in butter with a little salt/pepper has always been an easy go-to. This year, I decided to mix it up a little and try out a few of the bazillion sweet corn recipes and cooking methods that have caught my eye on Pinterest. So far they have all been FANTASTIC and super easy! Here’s a roundup of a few of my favorite ways to prepare sweet corn for the family:
Boil it in goodness.
Fill a pot with water then add a stick of salted butter and 1 cup of milk. Bring to a rapid boil while you shuck your corn. Throw in however many ears of corn you can fit and turn the heat to a low simmer for 5-8 minutes. Remove the corn, let cool and enjoy!
This method works great if you’re only making a few cobs at a time, otherwise you run the risk of uneven cooking. It’s my new go-to for a quick lunch side dish. The best part is that you don’t have to mess with any husking and the silk falls off like magic when you’re done! Just place 2-3 ears of corn (un-husked, yes really) in the microwave for approximately 4 minutes per ear. Remove the hot corn from microwave and cut off the bottom end, about half an inch above the stem. Once the bottom end is cut off, grab the husk and silk at the top of the ear and gently pull up to remove it. All of the silk will come off with the husk and you will be left with a perfectly cooked and ready to eat ear of corn.
Leave the husk on for this method, too! It will trap in the moisture and leave you with juicy, tender corn. Just throw your corn in the oven at 350° for 25-30 minutes. The husk and silk will peel away easily once it’s cooked. When it’s finished baking just cut off the large end and delicious corn on the cob will slide right out with no silk.
Preheat your grill on medium heat. In the meantime, fully husk your corn and remove all silk then coat corn cobs with olive oil and evenly sprinkle salt and pepper (to taste). Once your grill is nice and hot, place the corn on the grill and cook for 12-15 minutes turning every 5 minutes or so. When finished, the corn should be lightly browned or blackened just enough for the kernels to be cooked (this will be uneven, that’s the way it’s supposed to be!). One major difference I noticed is that when you grill corn, some of the kernels will look sort of deflated, but when you bite it they’re still juicy.
Break out the slower cooker.
If you like to get a jump-start on dinner while the kiddos nap then this is the way to go! Shuck your corn. Tear/cut pieces of foil big enough to wrap individual ears of corn. Put an ear of corn in the middle of a piece of foil, brush with olive oil and add seasonings of your choice (the possibilities are endless). Wrap corn tightly in foil and place it seam side up in your slow cooker. Repeat until your slow cooker is full. You can even prepare various different “flavors” by changing up the seasonings that you use on each ear of corn.
You don’t need to add water or anything to the crockpot; just put the lid on and let her cook! Approximate cooking times for 4-6 ears is 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low. For 8-10 ears cook on high for 3 hours and on low for 5 hours.
Corn for a crowd… in the cooler!
I was hesitant when I heard about “cooler corn,” but it really does work! This isa really fun and easy way to prepare corn in large quantities. You’ll need a large cooler with a lid that seals (i.e.: a styrofoam cooler will not work for this purpose). Clean your cooler really well, shuck your corn, and rinse each ear to remove as much silk as possible. Pile the corn into the bottom of your cooler. You’ll need to boil enough water to cover all the corn at once, so don’t underestimate how long it will take to boil those giants pots of water! Pour your boiling water into the cooler, close the lid tightly and wait 30 minutes! You’ll have perfectly cooked corn for a crowd — the best part is that the corn will not get overcooked if you leave it in the cooler.
We made this recently for our ICMB writer’s family picnic and the corn was delicious (perfectly cooked and still hot) nearly 4 hours after we added the boiling water. It was a hit! In fact, a few of the kids insisted it was “the best-est sweet corn EVER!!!”. You can’t beat that!
What is your go-to way to prepare sweet corn? Do you have a favorite recipe to mix things up? Please share!