5 Mistakes You're Making with Corn on the Cob

Avoid ruining your favorite summer vegetable with these easy tips.

Corn on the cob comes into season just as the weather warms up, making it the perfect food for grilling out or adding as a fresh side. But even if you spend every summer serving up corn on the cob, you still might be cooking it incorrectly.

You can use corn in so many ways, so make sure you are preparing corn on the cob in the best way possible to retain its nutrients and flavors. Watch out for these common mistakes:

You Boil It

Don't boil your corn on the cob. Boiling corn means some water soluble nutrients, like folate, will be leeched into the liquid and not consumed, so you'll miss out on some great nutritional perks, says Kelly Jones MS, RD, CSSD, LDN. Instead, trying steaming it. "By steaming corn on the cob — in the husk — you'll maintain the proper nutritive quality," she says.

To steam, fill up with water a large pot with a steamer basket until about an inch below where the steamer basket will fall. Bring the water to a boil before adding corn to the steamer basket and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the basket with tongs and wait to peel off the husks until safe to touch.

You Overcook It

Avoid cooking corn for too long. "If you have super fresh corn — which can even be eaten raw — it's a waste of time to cook for the common recommended time of 20 [or more] minutes," says Jones. Overcooking can also result in chewy and firm kernels. You can steam for 8-10 minutes or less, or even use the microwave. If in the microwave, cook on high 3-5 minutes.

You Remove the Husk

Don't remove the husk before cooking corn on the cob. "When you leave the husk on, you can speed up the cooking process and maintain a more tender texture for your corn. This is the case whether you're steaming, microwaving, or grilling your corn," she says.

Either after cooling to a safe temperature or with oven safe gloves, you can either peel husks back or cut one end before pushing the other end for the corn to slide out of the husks. "This should result in most of the fibrous strands remaining with the husk, but you'll want to peel off any remaining strands," she says.

The Heat is Too High

When grilling corn, don't turn the heat up. "It's important to be mindful of the level of heat and the flames in relation to corn's proximity to them. This is to ensure the husk doesn't catch fire," she says. With the grill it's super variable, so rather than focus on heat, aim to focus on the flames being on low-medium for gas grills. For charcoal grills, set the corn on the second tier of grates or on a grill topper to keep them farther away, Jones explains.

You Cool it Under Water

Don't let your corn cool down by putting it under running water from the faucet. Instead, let it just sit out and cool naturally. "Wait the extra few minutes for it to cool on its own so you don't [end] up with soggy corn," she says. That will ruin the whole dish and leave you without that heartier texture of the kernels you desire.

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