15 Ways to Enjoy Fresh Corn OFF the Cob
We’re up to our ears in recipes for different ways you can use fresh corn kernels.
When I think of summer, I remember being very little and holding a large ear of corn with both hands. The butter would kiss my cheeks and I’d try to mimic the cartoons where they’d bite methodically like a typewriter: “Ding!” Here at Yummly, we love corn and want to eat it all year long. We’ll teach you how to shop for corn, get it off the cob for recipes that celebrate fresh kernels, and show you ways to save some for later.
How to source fresh corn
Source your corn as fresh and young as possible, from a roadside stand or farmers' market. The ear in the husk should feel soft and smell fresh with no off or moldy smells. The silk should be whispy white and not browned or wet; this end-tip will go bad first because it has the most exposure to air. Keep the husks on and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Shuck the corn at the store if you know you’re going to consume/prep it that day — plus, if they charge by the pound, you’ll save a few cents. When you shuck, keep an eye out for any sliminess or mold, but it’s ok if the corn kernels aren’t all the same color. Avoid pre-shucked corn, because you can’t tell when it was picked. (If that's all that's available, make sure you wrap it tightly with plastic wrap before storing or it will dry out, making the kernels chewy, starchy, and less flavorful). Corn begins to lose sweetness the moment it is plucked from the stalk, so try to consume it within three days. If you’re unable to find fresh corn, frozen is a cheaper substitute and eliminates prep time.
Being a city kid, I had no clue you could eat sweet corn raw until a recent camping trip to Pennsylvania. Before taking a bite of raw corn, wash it thoroughly because you don’t know if it has been sprayed with any pesticides. Fresh summer corn should taste sweet, milky, and crisp!
Prepping your corn
Blanching your corn preserves its flavor, brings out a bright yellow color, and makes it easier to slice. It’s also how most freezer corn is processed. To blanch, warm the raw corn for 1 minute in boiling water, then shock the ears in ice water to stop the cooking process and make it easier to handle. You can also grill it or cook large amounts in a cooler (just add boiling water).
How to cut corn off the cob
To remove the kernels from the corn cob, use a paring knife, not a chef's knife, for more control. Lob off the end for more stability, then stand the corn vertically and carefully saw downward with a sharp knife, cutting two-thirds of the way through the kernels to avoid the tough ends that attach to the cob. If you are less confident about your knife skills, cut the ear in half and cut downward. To keep the kernels from flying all over your cutting board, try nesting a small upsidedown bowl or a bundt pan inside a large bowl.
Once you’ve prepped your corn, you can get to cookin’ or flash freeze it for longer-term storage. For measuring purposes, each ear of corn yields around 1/2 cup of kernels. It’s best to saute frozen corn because it’s been blanched already. Add a bit of honey, sugar, or maple syrup to bring out more of the sweetness that may have been lost to the freezer, and salt them after you’ve turned off the heat to avoid losing moisture.
We’ve gathered a bushel of our favorite recipes for you to master, from easy, no-heat soups and salads to casseroles and sweets (if you dare to turn on your oven in the summertime).
- For crunch and a pop of sweetness, sprinkle corn onto your salads.
- Speaking of salad, swap out salad greens for a corn salad. Instead of a creamy dressing, this hearty version of a cobb salad uses lime and cilantro for a zesty finish.
- Combine all of your summer favorites like peaches, tomatoes, and corn in this light and crunchy Panzanella. Simply toss everything and let it marinate for 30 minutes before serving.
- Throw together this lightning-quick corn dip for a party. It can be served hot or cold with veggies, buttery crackers or tortilla chips.
- Creamed corn is one of the easiest side dishes you can make for your next meal. The butter and flour work together to create a roux that thickens up the heavy cream in this corn recipe.
- If you have leftover creamed corn, combine it with broth to make Chinese chicken and corn soup. This was a childhood favorite of mine because you pour a whipped egg into the hot broth to cook it into whispy spoonfuls. To take things in a completely different direction, use leftover creamed corn to make these easy hush puppies.
- Don’t want to turn on the stove? Gazpacho to the rescue! All of the ingredients go into a blender and zip, you’re done!
- To cool you off, churn sweet corn ice cream. It’s way better than storebought and only contains six ingredients.
- I freeze leftover cobs to make broth. When I have 6 or so, I boil them in 12 cups of water for an hour. When removing the cobs after the broth cools down, scrape the sides with the edge of a knife to “milk it.” Corn broth plays perfectly in miso soup with scallion and tofu.
Now it’s your turn! How do you like to use fresh corn kernels? Tag your pics with #Yummly on Instagram to show us how you use corn off the cob.