To say that corn is important to Iowa is like saying I just “like” nachos. It’s a huge understatement! The United States is the largest producer of corn in the world, and Iowa is the largest producer of corn in the states. Everyone here has a connection to corn. Whether you grew up on a crop farm or detasseled corn in the summers, attend sweet corn festivals or take scenic drives to admire neat row after neat row of field corn shooting up from the dirt, or got sent to the back porch to shuck sweet corn as punishment when you were a kid – it’s a part of all of us. Heck, I used to own a shirt that said “Shuck You” and it was given to me by my corporate employer at the time. ? We are IN it!
Many people don’t know that the majority of corn grown in Iowa, and the rest of the country for that matter, is used for fuel and animal feed – less than 1% grown is the sweet corn we all know and love to eat and eat (and eat) each summer. That said, sweet corn season is short, and the supply is limited, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to dive into some scrumptious sweet corn recipes!
Today I’m sharing 10 of my favorite ways to enjoy sweet corn, plus a few helpful tips for cooking, freezing, and slicing corn off the cob. That said, I have to admit that two of my favorite ways to eat sweet corn are simply boiled or grilled then slathered with lots of fresh butter and salt. Trust this life long Iowan when she tells you it does not get better than this.
Alright, it feels ridiculous to say this but there is much to talk about when it comes to sweet corn soo…I’m going to do that now. Ladies and gents – Sweet Corn 101 is now in session.
Disclaimer: Iowans are very passionate about their personal sweet corn recipes, preparation, and cooking methods, so just know that these are my personal tried and true methods and I’m not trying to speak for the whole state. You know things are serious when I have to include a disclaimer in a post about sweet corn! ?
What’s the best way to shuck sweet corn?
The best way to shuck sweet corn is to embrace the suck and manually shuck. Say that five times fast. There is a microwave method for shucking corn but it involves cutting the stalk end off the cobs which, in my opinion, can easily result in injury because they’re so hard. Head outside with a paper bag then peel back and discard the first few layers of husk. Next, snap the stalk end then shuck backwards up the cob, taking the rest of the husk with you. The backwards shuck method usually takes the majority of the corn silk with it, but if you’re very concerned about removing every last thread you can use a new, clean toothbrush to help brush those off. This is a great job for kids and one my brothers and I did weekly growing up (see above).
How do you cut corn off the cob?
The best way to cut corn kernels off the cob is to lay the cobs on a cutting board then slice off one side of kernels at an angle. Rotate the cob so the flat side is now against the cutting board then slice off another side. Keep rotating until all the kernels have been sliced off the cob. Voila – no wobbly cobs nor flying kernels, plus you get those great “corn sheets”. I MUCH prefer this method over the bowl + bundt pan method which again, can easily result in injury, plus the kernels still go flying everywhere.
How to boil sweet corn:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil then add a huge pinch of salt and shucked corn cobs. Boil for 7-8 minutes or until the kernels are crisp tender. Drain then stick corn skewers into the ends of each cob. Next, either halfway unwrap a stick of butter then run it all over the hot kernels while holding onto the wrapped portion of the stick OR place a stick of butter on a plate then rotate the cob over the top of the stick of butter. Salt, then dive in.
How to grill sweet corn:
Shuck corn cobs then place directly onto grill grates that have been preheated over medium-high heat. You do not need to oil the cobs first. Rotate cobs every couple of minutes until the kernels are lightly and evenly charred. Butter (see above!) then enjoy. I most enjoy grilled sweet corn sliced from the cob then tossed into lettuce or pasta salads.
Does sweet corn need to be cooked?
While there are many ways you can cook and enjoy sweet corn – grilled, sauteed and simmered, just to name a few – you absolutely CAN eat sweet corn raw. The first recipe in my list of what can be made with sweet corn is a raw sweet corn salad and it is divine.
Can I freeze sweet corn?
YES! Sweet corn freezes beautifully. My mother in law used to have a shucking fest every summer so she and her boys could enjoy Iowa sweet corn even in the dead of winter. Simply shuck the corn, slice the kernels off the cob, then freeze flat in Ziplock bags.
Ok, I think that about covers it! I hope you get a chance to enjoy these scrumptious sweet corn recipes very soon!