Published July 1, 1995.
What really matters is when the corn was picked and how it's been stored.
As is often the case, the simplest method of cooking corn--boiling it--has the most questions associated with it. Should part of the water be replaced with milk? Should the water be seasoned with salt, with sugar, or nothing at all?
True corn lovers swear by waiting to pick corn until their cooking water starts to boil. We thought this was a little fanatical and hoped to find a more practical solution.
Corn boiled in salted water was predictably tougher than corn boiled in unsalted water. Sugar-seasoned water, however, brought out the natural sweetness of the corn in the same way that salted water enhances the flavors of other vegetables. Cooking the new sugar-enhanced varieties of corn in sugar-seasoned water, however, pushed them into the dessert category. Regardless of the cooking technique, we found that corn cooked in its grassy husks consistently picked up the husks' pleasant, fermented, earthy smell--a flavor that appeals to some, though not to others.list of recipes