How to buy fresh corn without looking a damn fool.
This is corn I bought this morning at the market. As always, nearly everyone around me was anxiously half-shucking, then rejecting, ear after ear.
This is the same thing as peeling a banana before you decide if you want to buy it. It is ignorant, wasteful, and disrespectful to the farmer.
I realize not everyone grew up in corn country. With that in mind, I offer you a guide to buying corn without feeling the need to peek inside.
Tip 1: Look for moist silk at the top of the ear and a nice green husk. Reject ears if either are dry.
Tip 2: Feel the top. The corn should feel like it is filling up the husk, all the way to the tip.
Tip 3: The ear should feel heavy for its size.
Tip 4: Ask the attendants when the corn was picked. I the answer is “This morning,” buy. If they cannot answer, or the corn has been refrigerated, move on.
If you follow these tips, you can reliably buy good corn without behaving like an entitled, clueless miscreant.
Remember, peeking at the first inch of kernels tells you nothing about the corn. I often wonder if folks are worried about bugs, and that’s why they shuck corn before they buy it. I can only repeat what my parents used to say: Bugs mean the corn’s good, for one, and shucking hours before cooking is basically like shooting yourself in the foot. Corn looses its sweetness starting the moment it is picked, and shucking accelerates that process.
So go forth with confidence, and do not shuck.