Cutting corn off the cob after you’ve brought it home fresh from the market yields an amazingly sweet flavor that purchased frozen or canned corn can't deliver. Even freezing your own cut corn retains its flavor and texture well. (See how to freeze cut corn below.)
Sweet corn season runs from May through September depending on where you live. Buying local is ideal with sweet corn because of its short shelf life. Choose ears with plump, milky kernels that run all the way to the tip in tightly packed rows. As soon as the ears are picked, the sugars start converting to starch, reducing the corn's natural sweetness. Cook or blanch and freeze corn the day it is picked or refrigerate for up to 1 day.
Here’s how to cut corn off the cob in four easy steps (three, if you’re not freezing it!):
Pull the husks and silks off the ear of corn with your hands; do this section by section. Once the husks are removed, use a stiff brush to remove the remaining silks. You can also do this by hand, but it's a bit tedious.
Steady the ear of corn with one hand and face the stem away. Use a sturdy chefs knife to cut off the stem. Rinse the ear.
If you plan to cook and serve the corn right away, you can skip this step. However, if you want to freeze cut corn, blanch the ears first. To do so, before cutting corn off the cob:
Place an ear of corn, cut side down, on a cutting board, holding it near the top of the ear. Using a sharp knife, start at the top and cut downward with a gentle sawing motion, cutting corn off from the cob at about two-thirds the depth of the kernels. Continue cutting corn off the cob until all of the corn is removed. When using fresh corn for recipes, note that one ear of corn equals approximately 1/2 cup cut corn.
Tip: You did it! You’ve learned how to cut corn off the cob. When you’re ready to cook, check out this slideshow of recipes for fresh corn. (Or, read on for some gadget-y ways of cutting corn off the cob).
Crazy for corn? Love kitchen gadgets? Here’s how to get corn off the cob using a variety of kitchen tools.
Once you’ve husked the corn, slide this handy tool across the entire cob, and the little bristles remove the silks without damaging the kernels. Continue as directed above.
Cooks often wonder how to cut corn off the cob without having the kernels fly all over the place. A corncob stripper is one answer. Follow the instructions above, but when you’re ready to cut, simply run the blade across the kernels, which then flow into a little compartment. How neat is that?
Once you learn how to cut corn on the cob using a tube pan, there’s no going back! It’s another great way to do the task, without having kernels scattering everywhere.
Here’s how to cut corn off the cob—the tube pan way.
Add blanched and cooled cut corn to freezer-safe bags or containers with a measuring cup. Squeeze the air from the bags, if using, and seal. Label each bag or container with contents, amount, and date. Freeze for up to 8 to 10 months.
In a saucepan, bring a small amount of salted water to boiling. Add 2 cups cut corn, cover, and cook for 4 minutes. Or, to microwave, place 2 cups cut corn in a casserole dish with 2 tablespoons water. Microwave, covered, on 100 percent power (high) for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring once. Drain corn.