This article is inspired by the Recipe Redux Challenge for this month. If you follow the blog (you can do so here if you wish) on the 22nd of each month a bunch of dietitian foodies publish healthy and tasty recipes together on the same day, using the same theme.
This month’s Recipe Redux theme,
“Fresh from the Garden: The season of bountiful produce has arrived. Whether your produce comes from the farmers’ market, a CSA share or a plot of dirt out back, show how you are using fresh July fruits or veggies.”
A perfect theme to highlight the best July veggies, fresh picked corn from New Jersey, The Garden State.
How do You like Your Corn on the Cob?
Summer time eating when I was growing up in Toms River meant enjoying fresh New Jersey produce such as corn on the cob, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. Now we spend our summers back here at ‘the beach’ (the local way to call the Jersey Shore) and I still savor the ritual of dinners filled with Jersey freshness. Eating corn on the cob during the summer is even more special for me because this Jersey delicacy is not available in France (clarification-you can buy corn on the cob in the French supermarkets where I live, but it is already husked and packed in sous-vide plastic packaging or in a jar. I don’t/can’t/won’t buy it like this.
I could say that Jersey corn tastes the best in the world, but this is probably a bias statement from lots of fond foodie memories. One main factor in great tasting corn is eating it when it is freshly picked. New Jersey, the Garden State, can boast that it has excellent corn because there is a close corn on the cob farm to table. As an example, just take a drive around the back roads of Southern New Jersey. There are small farmer stands selling corn or you can stop at a farmer’s market. To buy the corn for this article I stopped at the small mom and pop store that sells produce here in Tuckerton, NJ, B&B Produce. I was told that the corn I purchased was picked the night before, c’est parfait!
When shopping for your summer freshness, ask when the corn was picked and from where. Corn, in particular, should be eaten very soon after it is picked.
Now its time to cook it. (A nutrient fact: corn’s nutrition availability increases with cooking. Unlike other veggies that are most nutrient dense eaten raw, corn’s health benefits are higher when it is cooked).
Boiled, Steamed or Grilled: What is the Best Tasting Corn on the Cob?
My mom likes her corn on the cob steamed. I like it boiled. And grilling the corn is also a super easy way to prepare it (especially when you are camping).
For this Recipe ReDux Challenge, show us how you are using fresh July veggies, I felt inspired to challenge the best tasting way to enjoy corn on the cob. In addition to my mom and I, we had some other tasters: Let’s ask the kids!
The result is a very unscientific taste test (small study group) with three methods to cook corn on the cob: boiled, steamed or grilled.
Here are the three ways to cook corn on the cob and the taste challenge results below.
First method: Boil
- Fill a large cooking pot with water.
- On the stove, heat the water until rapid boil. Add the corn (with peels and husks removed, like in the picture).
- Lower the heat to medium and cover the pot. The water will take a few minutes to return to boiling.
- After the corn returns to a boil, gently lift the cover of the pot (careful not to get burned with steam) and smell the corn. Once you smell a good whiff of corn, turn off the heat. (Approximately 3-7 minutes after corn goes into the water). Your corn is done.
- Leave corn in pot (not too long, the corn should be cooked right before serving), then pick up each cob and put on a serving plate or directly onto each person’s plate. Corn on the cob should be eaten HOT!
Second Method: Steam
- Put a small amount of water in a large cooking pot.
- Put the corn (peeled and husked) into the cooking pot, vertically, and turn on the heat. (see picture below).
- Cover the cooking pot and steam the corn for 10 minutes.
- After the corn has steamed, turn off the heat and serve the corn as described in the first method above.
Third method: Grilled
- Gently remove some (not all) of the outside husks from the corn. Keep enough husks to have the corn be wrapped.
- Remove the silk from inside and discard.
- Add a few pats of butter, salt and pepper (if desired) onto the corn. Wrap the corn up again with the husks.
- Wrap each corn cob in aluminum foil. And place on grill for 10 minutes on each side under a low heat. When corn is done, leave them in aluminum foil to have each person unwrap on their plate.
And out it went for the tasting!
Which cooking method results in the best taste? Boiled, steamed or grilled?
We cut each corn on the cob type in half and put all three on each plate.
Some observations by all of us:
- The boiled corn was sweeter.
- The steamed corn kernels popped off the cob into our mouths (more crispy).
- The grilled corn tasted more caramelized and smelled like popcorn (did we overcook it?)
There is a difference in taste with the three ways to cook corn on the cob. My mom and youngest (9 years old) liked steamed method better, my two other children (son who is 14 and daughter 11) and I liked the boiled version, and the grilled version was good but not the best tasting for any of us.
What is your favorite tasting corn on the cob? (Note-you can also microwave corn on the cob, but I don’t like to use a microwave to cook food, just my personal preference). Do you have a food memory with corn on the cob? Share it with us, we would love to hear it.
I hope you enjoyed this month’s recipe redux corn on the cob taste challenge. If you have reached the end and want to see more articles like this, you can subscribe to BrightonYourHealth monthly newsletter and article updates by clicking on the button below. Your email will always remain private.