How Do You Tenderize Corn?

How Do You Tenderize Corn?

Corn is a very popular cereal grain said to have originated in southern Mexico. You do not need a description to know what it is but for clarity sake and to let you know you are on the right article. We are referring to the cereal that has rows and rows of edible kernels on a cob. 

They come in multiple colors, depending on where they have grown and what species or variety they happen to be.

One thing about corn is that it can be eaten whole when it is very young as then the kernels are juicy and tender. 

But like everything living thing, it keeps growing and gets matured, likewise, the kernels get harder and become inedible in uncooked form. Cooking corn when it is still fresh and tender is easy, it does not take long and the kernels are soft and not chewy. 

But cooking dry corn is an issue as the kernels tend to be chewy and not tender even after cooking for long periods. In recent times, some corn breeds have been cultivated that can stay juicy and tender for a longer time. 

However, you still have to use them within two days of harvesting if you still want to have a share of juice and tender corn kernels. And of course, you have to refrigerate them to have them fresh for that long. 

Despite all this, it is still going to get old and tough and freezing is not an option anymore. Rather than throw your old corn away, why not tenderize them and enjoy. 

So how do you make your corn tender?

To tenderize, soften or rehydrate your corn kernels before cooking, we have to find a way to make the corn kernels absorb as much water as it has lost. Soak the corn kernels in water for a while until they look like a fresh corn kernel, bigger and fuller. 

The water should be enough to completely cover the cob. You can either use hot boiling water or cold water for this. Whichever you choose to work with, take note that coldwater does the work well. But boiling water speeds up the tenderizing process. 

With boiling water, it can soak for about 5 to 10 minutes to get rehydrated. After soaking, drain the water from your corn and proceed to use it for your cooking.

Another way of making your old corn tender enough to eat is to make it part of a soup. Add the hard corn kernels to a very hot soup and allow them to absorb the soup. It will gradually become tender as the soup seeps into the corn kernels. 

It is not advisable to cook the soup with hard corn kernels in it because instead of tenderizing it, the kernels will get harder and you do not want that.

The act of rehydrating or tenderizing does not count when it comes to popcorn. Popcorn has a type of corn that is small and has a very thick kernel exterior which is not able to absorb water. You cannot soften the kernel, but only moisten the starch inside the kernel. This will be a waste of time and resources as you still have to chew through the hard outer shell to get to the inside.

Why do you put milk in water when boiling corn?

Adding milk to water when boiling corn is more a less a personal choice and preference. A question of how you want your corn to taste or even smell like. Corn itself contains sugar, so boiling it alone in water will still come out sweet and tender. 

The reason why people boil corn in milk is that they believe boiling your corn in milk brings out the sweetness of the corn that you are cooking, especially in sweet corn. The milky taste infuses into the corn kernels This taste can further be enhanced even more when adding sugar to the water.

How do I know when my corn is done?

Timing matters a lot, even when boiling corn. When cooking your corn by boiling in initially cold water boiled to boiling point with the corn in it. You should expect it to be done in about 5 minutes. The heat from the initial point that gradually increases within the 5 minutes should be enough to cook your corn. 

If you placed your corn in already boiling water, then allow it to simmer for about 8 – 10 minutes before you can say it is done.

The tricky thing about boiled corn is that it hardens quickly as the temperature drops. Your hot steamy cob can become a piece of dry corn kernels on a waterlogged cob as the steamy liquid evaporates very fast. 

So it is a good idea to serve only the amount you want to eat at a time from the pot. Let the remaining corn be left in the hot water to keep it warm and tender. Corn can be left in the water, or a combination of water and milk, depending on what you used in boiling your corn for as long as 10 minutes after cooking. 

Mind you, leaving your cooked corn in the pot for longer might not help as the flavor and tender texture of the corn will start to deteriorate. So always cook just the amount of corn that you can consume at a go.

Also, when the corn is boiled, you can tell immediately by the color of the corn. Now the corn is yellower and the grains look thicker. When the ears are fully cooked, the yellow color of the corn becomes more intense while the grains are thicker and more tender. 

You can test this by poking a bump with a sharp knife tip. But most importantly, corn needs heat. You can use pliers to pull your ear out of the water and see if it is hot.

Why is my grilled corn chewy?

Corn on the cob is one of the all-time convenience foods. But biting down on mushy and chewy kernels is not pleasant. 

The crunch and crackling sound of perfectly cooked corn on the cob is the relaxing pleasure that many people look forward to now and then. If the corn on the cob is not juicy and sweet, then it is not worth looking forward to.  

If after grilling, you end up with chewed corn, then the reason is probably that you have overcooked it. Heat has a reputation for breaking down things. You only need enough heat to get your corn tender – anything more is excessive.

So when you cook for too long, the corn gets heat for too long and this breaks down the outer shell making the finished corn mushy and chewy.

You might be wondering if this experience only manifests when you grill your corn. But no, even when you boil it as well – it happens if you do not do it right. You might be wondering how because it is in liquid and should be fine. 

This is why it is so frustrating when you are looking forward to the best corn on the cob but get something tough and chewy. 

One of the things that make cooked corn chewy after cooling is keeping the corn in boiling water for too long. Boiling in water for 5-7 minutes is enough. Cooking longer puts your satisfaction at risk.

Does boiling corn take away nutrients?

Corn, just like every other cereal contains a fairly good serving of vitamins, especially vitamin B6, and minerals including iron, magnesium, and calcium. Corn also contains sodium, potassium, and additional nutrients. 

The majority of these nutrients are water-soluble and this is an issue when it comes to the preparation of corn meals. In fact, according to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), improper preparation of corn can cut the nutrient content in half. 

And you will agree that such proportion is a lot of nutrients gone and a lot of shafts left behind for the tummy. This is the same with all vegetables and not just corn. You overcook them, you end up with a flavorless and less colorful edible with very little nutrients. 

The lesser you cook them, the better the nutritional results. And you should consider cooking less because they are important to health. The  American Dietetic Association (ADA) recommends that you consume at least 3 to 5 servings of vegetables every day. So think about your cooking methods.

When corn is been cooked especially when boiling them in water, most of the nutrients contained in them, which are water-soluble, get dissolved and seep into the boiling water. 

Also, high temperatures during boiling tend to degrade the quality of the heat-sensitive vitamins, especially when the cooking time is lengthy. When this happens, there is no way of getting it back. It’s more like wasted vitamins.

Using the water for soup or gravy is a good way of making use of the leeched nutrients and not wasting them.

Instead of dropping your ears of corn in the pot and risking it all, why not consider steaming it. 

It is a win-win especially if you are preparing in smaller quantities. You end up with ears of corn that have their nutrients intact and the cooking time is lesser. Another way you can try aside boiling is by microwaving your corn.

Can you keep corn on the cob in water?

When cooking your corn, do it quickly and do not leave it in boiling water as it will continue cooking and overcooked corn is not what you will prefer to eat. The best thing is to eat the corn immediately after boiling. 

But corn is most times combined with many summer picnic treats and main dishes. And as such can get ready before other dishes are. If other foods are cooked together with corn and the cooking time is longer, the corn can be cooked and kept warm in the water until ready to be eaten.

Is boiling corn healthy?

Corn has several essential minerals such as zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese. With a high fiber content, eating corn helps with digestion.

It helps also in muscle growth because corn is an excellent source of healthy carbohydrates and calories. So in other words, corn helps in weight gain.

Can you marinate corn?

Marinating comes with a lot of benefits, like allowing you to infuse desired taste and flavor into whatever you are about to cook before cooking 

them. This ensures, the desired taste does not just stay on the surface, but also in every bite of the food piece. So can we try that with corn cobs?

Usually, corn is flavored by adding topping to the corn after cooking it. To ensure it sticks, butter is brushed on the surface as a topping and also a sticking mechanism for other toppings. But nothing beats infusing the flavor and taste into the corn kernels.

You can marinate corn quite alright, but the effects might be little or nothing because corn has a hard outer shell. But you can give it a trial to see if it works for you.

Can corn stay in the water overnight?

Yes, corn can be soaked in water overnight before cooking. Peel the corn without separating it from the cob. Remove the silk and fold the shell to cover the corn. 

Put the corn in a bowl of water and soak for at least 15 minutes (overnight if necessary). If you are going to grill, before grilling, pour water into a large saucepan, add sugar and 1/2 cup of salt. Then stir until everything is dissolved, at least 30 minutes. 

Alternatively, the corncob can be peeled and fried. Optional: Peel the shell and remove the silk from the stick, but you can bake the stick without removing the silk. It is recommended to soak the corn for 15 minutes to 1 hour before roasting.

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