How To Choose the Best Corn Every Single Time, According to Two Corn Farmers

How To Choose the Best Corn Every Single Time, According to Two Corn Farmers

I didn't know how to choose corn on the cob at the grocery store or farmers market. Bigger is better, right?

No way, says Mike Buis, a farmer in Martinsville, Indiana, who farms 3,000 acres of corn and soybeans with his brother. Both have been farming since they were teenagers and are now in their 60th growing season.

“People like sweet corn at different stages of maturity. I like it very young and tender,” Buis says. People often sort through the ears in the corners to find the largest, most voluminous ones. “This corn is more mature and can be a little chewy.”

He chooses the smallest ears“De-hull it and make sure it doesn’t have any bugs or worms, which can happen, and see if it’s well-filled,” Buis suggests. “Go for smaller cobs with less-filled kernels, because that means they’re sweet and tender.”

But not too small, says April Robertson of Robertson Family Farm in King, N.C. They grow about 35 acres of fresh produce, all from seed, and sell it at their community farm stand.Huge, fat ears can tend to be hard, so opt for medium-sized ears instead.“Thin ears tend to not be completely filled,” she says.

So take a look at the pods

Another way to ensure you're getting the freshest corn on the cob is to examine the husks.

“When buying fresh corn at the market, choose the freshest, unshrunk cobs. As the husk dries, the corn dries out,” Robertson says. “Our corn is picked fresh twice a week. At the grocery store, avoid husks that look dry.”

Look for ears with green husks and avoid ears with brownish husks or silks. These are signs that the corn was picked a long time ago.

“Every time you cut an ear off the stalk, you’re taking away its nutrients and its habitat. It’s like an umbilical cord, and it’s going to start drying out,” Buis says. “The longer it’s away from the stalk, the drier it gets.”

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Should the pods be removed at the store?

My grocery store always has a large bin next to the fresh corn for customers to shuck the cobs. I was never sure if it was because people wanted to check the kernels before buying or if they just didn't want to have a mess in their home.

maybe a little bit of both.

“You want to leave corn in its husk until it’s ready to eat,” Robertson says. If you remove the husk before cooking, it can dry out and not taste as fresh.

If you're grilling or microwaving corn, Buis suggests leaving the husks on and soaking the cobs in water. The moist husks then help steam the corn, making it more tender.

The other secret to choosing the best corn on the cob is to buy it immediately after picking. If you buy corn at the grocery store, it can easily be two weeks old, especially if it has been transported from a long distance. Buying it directly from a farm stand or farmers market is the best way to find the freshest corn.

Robertson adds: “Corn is freshest right after it's picked. It's best to buy it directly from the farm.”


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