Enjoy leftover corn with these easy tips
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Few foods are more delicious than sweet, crunchy corn on the cob. The harvest continues all summer, through fall and into early winter, so you have plenty of opportunities to enjoy it. We eat corn in many delicious ways: in salads, chowders, soups, fritters, and best of all, fresh off the cob.
There’s something so satisfying about biting into a buttered, lightly salted ear of corn, tasting the kernels’ natural sweetness underneath. But what can you do with leftover corn on the cob?
And what if you’re planning to serve a crowd, and want to cook the corn ahead of time to reheat later?
Try one of these easy methods of reheating corn, whether it was grilled, boiled, microwaved, or roasted in the oven.
Corn in its Husk Reheated in the Microwave
The most convenient way to reheat corn in its husk is to pop it into the microwave. Remove plastic wrap, if any. Place up to three cobs into the microwave, arranged as a triangle for maximum exposure to the heat. You can also heat four cobs, arranged as a square if your microwave is big enough.
Add 2 tablespoons of water to sit on the bottom of the dish. This will steam the corn and prevent its drying out. For the same reason, cover the dish with a microwave-safe cover. Heat the corn on high for 45 seconds, then carefully turn it over.
Safety note: Be careful to avoid the steam when removing the cover.
Heat for another 45 seconds. You may need to test the corn at this point, as each microwave brand and size works differently. Remove the cobs to a platter and peel the husks back. You’ll see that not only the husks but the silk too come away neatly.
Corn in its Husk Reheated in the Oven
This is a good method of reheating lots of corn on the cob. Heat the oven to 400 °F. Pour 1/4 cup water onto a baking sheet. Place the cobs on the baking sheet. Cover with foil. If you prefer not to use foil, use tongs to turn the cobs over at about 3 minutes. Be careful to avoid the steam! Heat for 7 minutes.
Broiling to reheat cooked corn on the cob is easy: place the cobs 6” away from the heat source and broil for 5-7 minutes, rotating the cobs a few times.
You can also Reheat Corn in its Husk by Dropping the Cobs into Boiling Water
Use a big pot full of water to cover the cobs when they’re dropped in. Keep them in the hot water no longer than 2 minutes. Fish them out with tongs.
Reheating Husk-Free Corn
Use any of the methods described above, but if microwaving, wrap the cobs in kitchen paper first, to protect them and keep them juicy.
Reheating Grilled Corn
A do-ahead tip for reheating, or finishing off grilled corn on the cob, is to grill the ears for 15 minutes or until tender. Then take them off and let them cool until you’re ready to serve. Season them with herbed garlic butter, then put them back on the hot grill, turning them twice and letting them char slightly – 3-5 minutes. Divine.
You can also take plain boiled corn and reheat it on the grill the same way.
Tips for Reheating Corn on the Cob
First, choose the best corn.
It makes sense, right? Whether you just have leftovers or plan to cook ahead, the way to get the most out of reheating corn is to make sure it was in excellent shape when it was still raw.
Choosing Corn in its Husk
The husk tells what condition the ear is in. The best corn has a moist, healthy-colored green husk that covers the ear tightly. Yellow discoloration of the husk shows that the ear is old, maybe drying out, and has lost flavor. Worms leave holes behind as they enter the corn, so reject any ears whose husks have those little holes.
The ear should have a good heft for its size in the hand. Peel back the husk a bit to examine the silk. The silky threads should be moist, and there should be lots. Scanty corn silk indicates that the ear is drying out. Corn silk exposed to the air at the open tip will turn brownish, but the inner silk should be light-colored.
Choosing Husk-Free Packaged Corn
If what’s on offer is ready-to-cook packaged corn on the cob, turn the package around to get a good look at the tips where the stem was cut away. If they look at all discolored, have brown spots, or look moldy, reject them. The cut tips should look moist, even a little milky, and have a fresh light yellow color. The silk should likewise look light yellow.
Cooking Corn on the Cob to Reheat Later
You want to keep the corn fresh-flavored and juicy, no matter which way you cook the corn, so don’t add salt. Salt draws moisture and flavor out of the kernels. Roll your cobs in butter and salt just before serving. Some add a pinch of sugar to the cooking water. That’s recommended when the corn is on the old side. Fresh, moist corn from the farmer’s market should be sweet enough naturally.
Storing Cooked Corn on the Cob
Whether in the husk or not, allow surplus cobs to cool down, then store them promptly in the refrigerator or freezer. Keep them in a sealed bag, or wrap each one in plastic wrap or foil.
Store cooked corn in the refrigerator no longer than 5 days, and 3-4 days is even better. Cooked cobs older than 5 days should be discarded or chopped up for the compost.
You can freeze cooked corn on the cob. It will be tastiest when reheated if you freeze it in its husk, but husked corn is fine to freeze too. Any of the methods described above work to reheat frozen corn, but microwaving is the most convenient.