… to microwave corn. I had a virgin run the other night microwaving a corn cob. Yes, yes, I know, it’s not exactly a revolutionary thing to do at my age … but for me it was a brand-new experience. I’ve always avoided microwaving corn. I mean, why would you? With a family to feed who eat two cobs each you’d be driven insane with all the pinging. PING. Ready! Open door, check. Not quite ready. Reset timer. PING. Two cobs ready. Put more corn in. PING. And so on. Much faster to boil a large pot of water, throw them all in at once, serve up a big impressive mound of them and have everyone eating together. That was until I was single. Not newly single, but single. It’s taken a wee while to confront the big white pinging bogey thingy in the corner of the kitchen. Single, apart from Humpf – and I’ve noticed he leaves the corn in his ‘spring chicken & vegetable pâté’ on the side of his bowl. So I’m cooking just one cob, just for me. Bring a pot of water to the boil? Boil the kettle first and use boiled water? Or cook the corn cob in the microwave? Which would use less energy, which would be most convenient and which would produce the best result?
Usually, I would put a small amount of water in a pot and put it on to boil while water in the kettle is coming to the boil. This is so I don’t pour boiling water into a cold pot which would cool the boiling water down, and I’d use more energy bringing it back up to the boil. It keeps the momentum of the energy going. And I cook the corn for anywhere between a couple of minutes for fresh-picked corn, and between 7-10 minutes for supermarket so-called ‘fresh-picked’ corn. There is a big difference.
You can eat corn raw, straight from the plant, and it is delicious, juicy, milky and sweet, but it loses its sweetness once it is picked and the sugar converts to starch, and it needs longer in the pot. A lot depends on the maturity of the corn. Ripe mature corn takes longer to digest than young sweet corn. In other words, your stomach has to do more work to digest it. I am particularly sensitive to it and avoid corn with bright yellow fat kernels because I know I will pay for it later. Corn this mature needs 15 minutes in the pot to make it edible and digestible. I can hear the howls of protest now, but undeterred, I will carry on.
So there I was in my kitchen the other night and I decided to confront the beast. I opened up my beautiful little sweet corn cob, pulling down the green leaves but keeping them attached, and pulled away the tasselly silk, then I brought the leaves back up to enclose the corn … and headed to the microwave. I cooked it for 3 minutes. I’d been on Radio NZ with Karyn Hay earlier in the week and there had been some discussion with listeners texting in their opinions on how long to microwave sweet corn. The times ranged from 3 minutes to 12. Well, that’s a lot of help. NOT. I opened the microwave door – there was steam everywhere – and my first thought was, how do I pick it up to check if it is done? Tongs, stupid. And I had put the corn on the glass microwave turning plate, so that was dumb. I took the corn out of the microwave and put it on a board and carefully spread the leaves. Steam! A free sauna! Nope not cooked. I did it for 2 minutes more while fretting about the amount of steam in the kitchen. Was that worse than cows farting? Oh, no, that’s right, that’s methane. My windows were getting fogged up though.
After 2 minutes and another PING I checked again but opted for another intense minute of spinning and steaming and one more PING. I was hungry. I took it out, let it cool a bit, then slathered it with butter and added a healthy dose of flaky sea salt, as you do. It was tough! What did I do wrong? Was I meant to take it out of the leaves? Where did I get that idea from anyway?
Well, all I can say is, please send me your instructions for microwaving a cob of sweet corn because it is obvious I didn’t get it right. How can you lot all know how to do it, albeit with many variations, and I don’t? No amateur instructions though! I want well-tested, foolproof ‘any idiot can do it’ type of instructions to take me straight to microwaved corn Nirvana. Thanks.
Can someone tell me, seriously, what uses more energy? Cooking 1-2 cobs of sweet corn in the microwave or in boiling water. I know, you may laugh, I realise I’m not going to save the planet one corn cob at a time, but I tell you what, if we ALL KNEW these little secrets we could collectively make a difference.
And read all you want to know about sweet corn here https://sharedkitchen.co.nz/2015/01/sweet-corn/