Since the trick to proper storage of corn on the cob is to preserve its natural sugary aroma, you need to toss it into the fridge as soon as you can. Room temperature may cause your corn to turn starchy, which is about as far from ideal as it gets.
Of course, this isn’t to say that your corn on the cob will degrade in a matter of minutes or hours. In fact, if you’re immediately going to use it to prepare a meal, then it’s fine to leave it out for a bit. If you make a habit of leaving corn in the cupboard or on a table overnight, though, you’re missing out big-time.
While it is inevitable that any corn on the cob will turn starchy eventually, the good news is that this process can be slowed down by a fair bit. The cooler your intended storage option for corn, the longer will it take for it to degrade. So, let’s see what could be done on this front.
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How to Store Corn on the Cob Properly
The most important thing about corn on the cob storage is that you keep it from drying out. As we suggested above, the correct way of going about this is to store your corn in the fridge, since low temperatures substantially reduce the speed at which corn dries out and turns starchy.
Unlike most other veggies, corn is resilient when it comes to storage. Obviously, any kind of bowl or container with a lid will do the trick in this case, though you may need to check if you have any plastics that are long enough to actually fit the cobs whole like these.
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And yes – if you mean to store corn in the fridge, it’s important that you keep the kernels on the cob. This is another thing that will slow down the sugar degradation process, so make sure to keep that in mind.
Should I Leave the Husks on?
Whether you get your corn on the cob from the farmers’ market or from a general store, odds are substantial that you’ll find it still encased in its husk. This is good news, because not only does the husk protect the kernels from elements and undue spoilage, but it’s also a solid signifier of how healthy each cob is.
You want to look for tight, snug, and light green husks, with cobs underneath feeling solid and hard.
When you choose your cobs and bring them home, it’s generally a good idea not to take the husks off before you’re ready to start preparing your corn-infused meals. This, too, will help in keeping your corn from expiring too soon.
Can I Freeze Corn on the Cob?
If you’re more interested in freezing the corn, though – which is fair, and a good idea if you’re looking for long-term storage – then cobs may have to go. It’s far more practical to get the kernels themselves off and freeze them over storing whole cobs, we believe.
First, get all the kernels off the cobs using a knife, and then blanch them all together for a short while. Once the corn is properly cooled off, pack it into your freezer bags of choice (recommendation), get as much air out of them as possible, and toss them into the freezer.
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Freezing corn will ensure months of longevity. Though, do keep in mind that it won’t be quite as delicious as it was while fresh, because the sugar will keep degrading, even if only at a greatly reduced speed.
How Long Can Corn on the Cob be Safely Stored?
While corn is reasonably easy to work with, its shelf-life is rather short. Leave it out-and-about, and you might get up to two days before it expires. The fridge, too, will only keep your corn from spoiling for three to four days.
The freezer, however, will get you months of time before the corn expires. Expect it to stay safe and sound for stretches of eight months, or even longer!
How to Tell if Corn on the Cob Has Gone Stale?
Corn on the cob usually expires due to the formation of microorganisms and bacteria on its surface. Recognizing corn that’s already gone bad is easy, because the surface will be slimy and may even start growing small stretches of mold on particularly critical areas.
In some cases, cobs of corn may develop dark brown or even black discoloration along the body. If this is what you encounter, just toss the cob away and get a new batch, because it’s far gone at that point.
There’s also the smell to consider – expect spoiled corn to have an unpleasant, rancid smell that’s really hard to miss.
Corn on the Cob Storage Mistakes: Don’t Make ‘Em!
Here’s something you may not have heard before: cobs themselves can be used, even after you’ve cut the kernels off for meal preparation or, say, freezing.
While most of us surely just toss the cobs away as soon as we’re done with them, the truth is that they’re still chock-full of flavor at that point, and that they could still be used to enhance an already delicious meal.
For example, you can prepare a full pot of corn broth to use for future meals. Just thoroughly cook them and season the broth according to taste. Give it a shot and see how good it gets – you’ll be thanking us by the time the broth is cooked.
Keep Your Corn on the Cob Fresh!
Corn on the cob is awesome, but it’s surprisingly difficult to keep around for more than a few days at a time.
Now that you know that you can freeze it, though, you should have all the information you need to always have a batch of fresh (or fresh-ish) corn ready to go.
From salads to soups, corn on the cob is an incredibly versatile ingredient that often goes underrepresented in modern kitchens. Why not give it a fair shake? Now that you know how to store it, it’s not even a big deal if you end up buying too much.