The food out here

Secrets of sweet corn

Posted 8/25/21

There are many foods to anticipate in the summertime, depending on the week and when they’ve come into season for harvest. One pillar of summertime cuisine may not be ready at the start of the …

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The food out here

Secrets of sweet corn


There are many foods to anticipate in the summertime, depending on the week and when they’ve come into season for harvest. One pillar of summertime cuisine may not be ready at the start of the season, but tends to be widely available at farmers markets, etc., throughout the remainder of the warmer months.

Sweet corn is a staple for a lot of folks, I’ve found, having stocked it at our farmstand on Route 652 for the past month or so. I myself enjoy conducting a certain quality assurance of the sweet and savory summer snack. It’s interesting to notice how the flavor changes ever so subtly from week to week and even the consistency as well.

To be sure, the changes never disappoint, just make it interesting to discover what kind of corn you will get, even if it’s grown from the same fields and varieties. You have to appreciate how a little variation in sun and water and dirt changes something so simple in a big way.

My wife wanted to pursue her own secret changes with our most recent batch of quality assurance, deciding to not simply boil the sweet corn in water as we normally do, but rather to introduce simple ingredients to the liquid in order to change the nature of the cob itself. For some of you, this may not be an overly monumental discovery, and I’m sure for many this is even standard practice. However, for me, it was my first time having corn on the cob prepared this way and in case there are any others in the boat with me, I’m here to share the deliciousness.

Not all food has to be complicated to be tasty and that is the moral of this month’s recipe. The way out here, simple is as tasty as the rest if you have some good quality ingredients. If you’re in search of some good-quality ingredients I can recommend a pretty good farm stand on 652 Beach Lake Highway, if that’s not too blatant a promotion.

With a half-dozen sweet corn in hand, my lovely wife shucked them clean and cut them in half in preparation for dinner. She had already started a pot of boiling water, about 6 quarts’ worth, to be able to submerge all of the cobs. Then she cut up a stick of butter and dropped that in to melt. Following this, she poured in a cup of raw milk (although you can use whatever kind of milk you prefer). Once the liquid had reached a rolling boil, she added the corn.

After about 6–8 minutes, she removed them with her tongs and tested the corn for tenderness. Not long after, we were huddled around a platter of steaming corn at the kitchen table, gnawing down on the sweet, sweet treat.

What I found particularly good about this way of preparing the corn was that I didn’t even need to add any butter or salt to the corn to make it as good as it was. I’m one to typically load up his cob with half a stick of butter at a time and coat the whole thing in enough salt to cover a country road. You can still do that to this preparation but honestly, it isn’t necessary.

Since it tastes so good on its own, it may also be a good idea for any of you with kids. It mitigated the mess normally accrued by our two-year-old considerably, and for that alone I would make this our go-to recipe.

Either way, it’s a tasty take on a summer classic and simple enough that you really only need to be capable of boiling water to execute it. So for those of you seeking an easy and satisfying treat this summer, pick up some sweet corn of your preference and try this one out for yourselves.

Recipe courtesy of my wife Chelsea Hill (and very possibly elsewhere on the interwebs)

Sweet corn

½ dozen sweet corn on the cob

6 quarts of water

1 cup milk

1 stick of butter


Boil water in a large pot. While heating, shuck corn, remove silk, and cut cobs in half for ease of handling.

Add one stick of butter, cut up to speed melting time.

Add 1 cup milk (we prefer raw milk).

Add corn and cook for 6–8 minutes or until tender.

Remove with tongs and cool on a plate. Add additional salt and butter according to preference.

sweet corn, Hunter Hill, the way out here


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