Now that there’s corn at every farmers market, we’re spending a lot of time husking it while wondering if there’s a better way. Last year, a video came out addressing this predicament that immediately went viral, racking up, at last count, more than 7 million YouTube views. In it, an adorable gentleman claimed that if you steamed corn in the microwave and then shook it out of the husk, it would slide out well-cooked and completely clean of husk and silk. We had to see this technique in action for ourselves. Our conclusion? Microwaving corn on the cob works, and it’s delicious. The corn comes out perfectly tender — with not a string of silk in sight.
While the original video suggested that you microwave the corn in the husk for four minutes per ear, we found that three minutes struck the perfect balance of just-cooked kernels and an easy-to-husk ear. If you like your corn a little more cooked, feel free to go with four. (And if you want to take that extra minute to whip together a microwave compound butter, maybe with a pinch of paprika and a squeeze of lemon, we’d hardly blame you).
You can cut the tip of the corn off before or after you microwave it; it’s easier to do before, because it’s pretty hot out of the microwave, but if you do it after, you don’t lose that half inch of corn. Your call on that one. Use a serrated knife for a secure grip.
How does it work? Microwaves cook by agitating the water molecules inside the corn. As the molecules are agitated, they generate heat, eventually turning into steam. The steam coming from the kernels forces the silk and husk away from the cob, making them easy to slip off. You end up with perfectly-steamed corn, no husk or silk.