The Reason You Should Never Buy Pre-Shucked Corn

Boiled, grilled, or roasted; buttered and salted, or given the elote treatment; made into a chowder with bacon and potatoes; any way you serve it, corn is usually a hit. In a 2019 poll of 2,000 Americans, more than 91% of those asked said they liked corn, making it the most popular vegetable mentioned (via SWNS Digital). Maybe it's because of its sunshiny-yellow color, maybe it's because of its sweet flavor that can add a pop of bright flavor to savory and spicy dishes alike, but however you serve it, corn is a favorite.

That being said, there are some things you can do to corn to take away a bit of its magic. There are plenty of mistakes you're making with your corn on the cob, from boiling it for too long to brining it (you really shouldn't brine corn; it's science!). But no matter what corn recipe you're cooking, there's one thing you should always keep in mind, chef Lizzy Briskin wrote for Insider: Whether the corn is still in its husk, or shucked and wrapped in plastic.

Don't buy pre-shucked corn

According to chef Lizzy Briskin, a chef and the Food Editor for Real Simple, "buying husked corn is a no-go" (via Insider). "Even if it's the height of local corn season," Briskin explains, the husk can make all the difference in the taste and texture of your corn cobs. "It's impossible to know how long ago this plastic-wrapped corn was undressed, " the chef said. If the corn is still in its husk, the corn silk can be looked at to see if it's fresh: It should be wet and smooth, not dry, says MasterClass. But plastic-wrapped corn's quality can be more challenging to ascertain. "Husked corn is more convenient, but taking a few minutes to remove your own silk is guaranteed to be worth the effort for flavor and crunch," Briskin said.

According to Eckert's, there's a good reason to buy corn that hasn't been shucked. Unhusked corn will be slower to dry out compared to corn that's exposed, leaving the kernels tender and juicy. They also note that corn starts losing its sweetness after it's picked, and is best eaten within a couple of days of being harvested. Those shrink-wrapped packs of husk-free corn cobs might be appealing, but if you're looking for the best texture and flavor, according to the experts it's worth taking the extra time to shuck your corn yourself to do your favorite corn recipes justice.