Sustainability made simple

Boiling Fresh Corn on the Cob: A Quick Guide

boiling corn on the cob
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Phoenix Han

There is no better summer treat than corn on the cob. Boiling corn on the cob is a quick and easy way to prepare this ancient yellow vegetable. With this guide, you’ll not just learn how long to boil corn on the cob, but also what to look out for when buying it in the supermarket. 

Corn is one of the oldest and most important crops in the world. Originating as a wild grass called teosinte, corn was first domesticated in Central America about ten thousand years ago, and today grows on every continent except Antarctica. Corn on the cob is a summer favorite and can be prepared in endless delicious ways. But for many recipes, boiling the corn on the cob is listed as the first step. We’ll show you how long to boil corn on the cob, and share our best tips for what to watch out for.

Buying Corn in the Supermarket

When buying corn in the supermarket, we recommend that you peel back the husk a bit to see the kernels. This way, you can make sure that they aren’t dried out. Plus, you’ll be able to check the color: some people like paler, bicolor corn and others like bright yellow kernels. If you’re lucky, you might even find blue corn. In most areas, you can buy regional and seasonal corn from the end of July through mid-September. 

Remember that buying organic produce whenever possible is a great way to help support the environment!

Did You Know? Boiling corn on the cob, or cooking it at all for the matter, isn’t actually necessary. You can eat the kernels fresh.

How Long to Boil Corn on the Cob

how long to boil corn on the cob
Don’t be afraid to peel the husk back when buying corn to make sure the cob is good. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - Frank Merino )

Boiling corn on the cob couldn’t be simpler. Everyone has their own method of doing it, depending on how they like their corn cooked. These are fairly standard instructions, which you can adjust according to your personal tastes.

  1. Remove the husk and silks, and break off the stem of the cob. 
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove. Then add a teaspoon of sugar (to intensify the flavor) before adding the corn to the pot. 
  3. Boil the cobs of corn for 10 minutes, then remove and allow them to drain. 
  4. Brush with butter or oil, then sprinkle it with fresh herbs and spices. 

Tip: If you boiled too many cobs for dinner, simply cut the kernels off the cob and save them for another day. You can also freeze cooked corn!

This article has been translated from German by Karen Stankiewicz. You can find the original here: Maiskolben kochen: So lange dauert es und darauf musst du achten

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