Why You Should Wait Until The Last Minute To Shuck Corn On The Cob

Fresh sweet corn on the cob and summer are synonymous. It's difficult to imagine one without the other. In fact, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, corn was the largest crop farmers grew in the U.S. in 2019. It makes sense when you realize corn is native to North America, originating in Mexico 7,000 years ago, per North Dakota State University. Statista reports that Americans consume more corn than any other country, with individuals eating an average of 4.7 pounds of this vegetable in 2020. 

There is nothing like fresh corn on the cob. Whether you buy it at the grocery store or at a roadside stand in the country, you know your pearly whites are going to be chomping on it like a typewriter, enjoying every last kernel. Sure, this food that grows on a stalk sparks lots of conversations about the right way to eat corn on the cob, but if you are like most of us, you've already decided the best way to eat it, and that's however you enjoy it most. Coated in butter, roasted and served Mexican street style with mayo, cotija cheese, and chili powder, grilled, or even in a salad, corn on the cob is best however your heart and appetite desire. But when it comes time to shuck your ears of corn, you are going to want to wait until the last minute, and here's why.

Shucking at the last minute locks in moisture

If you find yourself tempted to buy already peeled corn on the cob or to shuck it at the store, stop yourself. It's not the best idea. According to Bon Appetit, if you are cooking up some corn on the cob, you want to wait until the last minute before you begin the job of shucking it and removing the husk and silk for one simple reason: You don't want your corn to dry out. Taste of Home seconds this approach, noting that if you aren't going to be eating your corn the day you purchased it, you want to store your corn on the cob in your refrigerator to really lock in that sweet flavor. They also explain that if you find your corn doesn't fit in your fridge, you can try and remove some of the leaves, but not all.

When you are ready to use it, what's the right way to shuck corn? Many people will tell you the easiest way involves using the microwave, but if you don't want to do that, you can simply do it the old-fashioned way: by hand. Remove the leaves and the silk, use a vegetable brush to get rid of any silk that might be left behind, wash it down, and you are in business (via Meiko and the Dish).