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Stop peeling corn on the cob to check for ripeness

The best technique for selecting perfectly ripe corn on the cob doesn’t involve peeling.

June 24, 2015

Here in Kentucky, it’s almost harvest time for some of the plumpest, most flavorsome corn on the cob the world has to offer. It’s time to smarten up on selecting the freshest, juiciest corn on the cob to avoid the disappointment of shucking dried out, gnarly kernels. I used to peel back the very top of the husk and silks to inspect the tip of the cob. But this technique accelerates drying of the kernels and only reveals a small part of the state of the corn. Here’s how to determine if the corn on the cob you’re buying is fresh and plump or better left behind:

  • Appearance: Unshucked corn should bear vibrant, shiny green husks which are wrapped tight around the cob. The stem end should look freshly cut, not dried out and woody.
  •  Feel: Give the tip of corn on the cob a gentle squeeze. If what you feel isn’t rows of tightly packed kernels, leave it behind.

Now, what to do with that super-fresh corn on the cob?

  1.  Serious Eats explains Three Ways to Grill Corn
  2. Melissa Clark shares her recipe for Chilled Corn Soup with Basil Prefer a dairy-free version? Replace the buttermilk with the same amount of non-dairy milk mixed with 1 Tbsp vinegar.
  3. Food52 gives us genius way to use every part of the corn–yep, husk and silks included.


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