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How to Pick The Freshest Corn

How do you pick good corn? Corn is best when picked young and tender. The sweeter and fuller it is, the fresher it will be. You can find tasty ears of sweet corn in your store’s produce department any time of the year, but it’s especially delicious when in season during the late spring and summer months. Here are a few tips on how to pick the very best ears:

What to Look for when Buying Fresh Corn - Check the husk

When it comes to corn, there are a few things you should be wary of when selecting “the freshest” corn. Below are signs to look for on the sensory evaluation portion of selecting the best fresh corn from the crop.

When choosing corn, the most important thing to look at is the husk. It should be bright green, wrapped tightly against the corn, and slightly damp. These are the freshest ears! Don’t choose any husks that are starting to yellow or feel dry.

You’ll want to check the husk for small brown holes, which mean insects. Take a peek at the bottom of the corn where the ear was broken off the stalk in the field. If this area is brown, the corn is probably a couple days old and not the freshest choice.

Tassels should be golden brown and slightly sticky to the touch.

The tassels of corn, also known as “hairs,” are the fluffy gold threads at the top of the husk. These hairs protect the ears from sunlight and rain, but it’s what inside that counts! Before buying your corn, pick up a few stalks and give one or two a gentle pull. The silks attached to each ear should be crisp and full, and if you give the ear a sniff it should smell sweet. If your corn is old, you’ll notice blackened silks and an odor that resembles rotting flesh.


Try to Squeeze the Corn

If you want to buy fresh corn on the cob, the best way to tell if it is fresh is to feel the kernels. Squeeze the ear of corn gently while running your fingers up and down the cob. You should be able to feel each kernel through the husk. If you can’t feel anything, then most likely the ear of corn isn’t fresh.

The kernels should feel plump and firm with no soft spots or voids. If you don’t squeeze the ear of corn, then you may not realize how soft and mushy it really is. It is very easy to overlook a problem if you do not actually touch and examine your produce.


How to Store Corn at Home

There’s a chance that if you keep corn in a damp atmosphere, the husks will rot. To prevent this from happening, store them in a dry place.

In the fridge, it’s important to treat corn right away. After about three days, it could lose its flavor and texture. If you plan on eating your corn after it’s been refrigerated, microwave it for about two minutes before doing so. This will help restore the texture and make it easier to peel off the husks.


What is the Best Corn Season?

Fresh corn in season is a staple of summertime and we all love to try new recipes with it. Whether it's grilled, roasted, in a soup, or any other way you like it, make sure you get the freshest stuff out there. Corn will lose its sweetness and become starchy rather quickly so when in doubt, pick it up from your local farm stand.

3 Summer Corn inspired Recipes

  1. Blueberry Corn Salad With Grilled Chicken
  2. Cheeseburger With Herb Corn Salad
  3. Sheet-Pan Shrimp Boil