State fair season is almost upon us, and booths across the country are offering up hot ears with entire tables of condiments set up to please every palate possible. And it’s no surprise—summer just isn’t the same without crisp, buttery sweet corn.
We’ve been using this versatile grain for centuries. It’s delicious grilled, boiled or baked, smothered in cheese and chile powder or served au naturale. Corn is a superstar ingredient in many different recipes, and it’s pure perfection when rolled in fresh butter with just a shake of salt.
Make corn even easier to add into your menu with our selection of tools like the Zyliss Corn Stripper, Zyliss Corn Holders or even these cute corn dishes. Or grab this Cast Iron Corn Pan for delicious, butter-drenched barbecued corn. (Editor’s Note: It also makes the cutest-shaped individual cornbread loaves ever.) Summer doesn’t stick around for long enough and neither does corn season. Do your best to make the most of what’s left of both.
Tips and Tricks
- When selecting corn, look for gold or light brown tassels with a slightly sticky-to-the-touch feel. If the tassels feel dried out or look black then the corn is old. Be sure to check the bottom where it was cut as well. If the base is brown, just say no.
- If you’re not cooking it right away, wrap ears loosely in a paper bag and store it in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Corn quickly loses its sugar, so the fresher you buy it and the sooner you use it, the sweeter the flavor.
- Grilling corn? There’s not just one way: you can grill it in the husk (with or without removing the silk first), add butter or flavored oil and wrap it in foil, or shuck the corn and grill it bare. If you don’t have access to a grill, you can microwave it for 3 minutes in the husk. Thank you, Food Lab!
- Corn (or maize) was first cultivated and grown as a food source in Mexico 9,000 years ago.
- The U.S. is the largest producer of corn in the world.
- Corn is produced on every continent except for Antarctica.
- An ear of corn will always have an even number of rows, 16 on average, and about 800 kernels.
- There is one piece of silk for each kernel on an ear of corn.
- Corn plants are wind pollinated and the ears of corn are part of the flower.
- Scientists have found 5,600 year-old corn that is preserved enough that it could still pop. We prefer our corn a bit more fresh.
- Barbecued Corn and Tomato Salad with Fresh Oregano Vinaigrette
- Charred Corn Succotash
- Corn on the Cob with Flavored Butter
- Grilled Italian Corn with Herbs and Parmesan
- Double Corn Bread with Smoked Mozzarella and Sun-Dried Tomatoes