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Skip the Salt When Cooking Corn

By Cook's Illustrated Published July 2015

When cooking fresh corn in boiling water, skip the salt.

Almost 15 years ago we found that cooking fresh corn in salted water made the skins of the kernels tougher than those of corn cooked in plain water. Back then we attributed the toughening effect to the presence of the calcium used in the salt’s anticaking agent. Recently, however, we noticed that the skins turned tougher even when we seasoned the water with calcium-free kosher salt. When it comes to cooking corn on the cob or blanching corn kernels, we’ll still refrain from adding salt to the cooking water, as we’d prefer to have tender skins and simply season after cooking.