Knife Skills: How to Prep an Ear of Corn
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This quick video will show you how to prep an ear of corn for sautéeing, making soups and chowders, or stir-frying. A pretty straight-forward skill that should find plenty of use in a couple weeks when the really great corn starts coming in.
Shopping and Storage
The very best corn comes direct from the farmer either at a farm stand, or at a farmer's market. Corn starts losing sweetness the moment it is picked. After one day at room temperature, over 90% of an ear of corn's sugars will have converted to starch, which means that for best results, consume them as soon as humanly possible after harvest.
When selecting corn at the supermarket, look for ears that are tightly shut with bright green leaves that show no signs of wilting. Squeeze the ears, particularly around their tips, to ensure that the kernels inside are full and juicy. A good ear of corn should have very little give and feel heavy for its weight.
Avoid ears of corn that have been pre-shucked or come packaged under plastic wrap. Any excess handling or packaging means that those ears are that much further away from their original time of harvest.
The best way to store corn is not at all—don't buy it until the day you plan on eating it. If you must store it, keep it in its husk in the refrigerator's crisper drawer, but don't store it for more than a day or you'll have starchy, flavorless corn on your hands.
For longer term storage, remove the kernels as shown in the video, then blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute, followed by a plunge into an ice water bath to chill them. Spread the blanched kernels out on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the freezer until fully frozen. Put the individually frozen kernels in a plastic zipper-lock freezer bag and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.