This is a good year for Ohio corn, though less available locally

We are in the heart of local sweet corn season. Even folks who rarely buy local produce know that corn on the cob needs to be freshly picked, and therefore local.

The statistics say that this is a good year for Ohio corn. Weather conditions have generally been OK.

On the other hand, I see less local sweet corn for sale so far this year. Around here, an increasing share of farmland is devoted to soybeans rather than corn.

The best way to cook corn on the cob is subject to fierce debate. Corn on the cob cooks fall into three camps: stovetop, microwave, and grill.

Over the years, folks in Oxford have shared strong opinions about how to cook corn on the cob. Perhaps folks elsewhere in the area, who now see this column in the Journal-News, would like to share their views.

The traditional option is stovetop. Shuck the corn, boil water in a large pot, and drop the ears in the boiling water for a debatable amount of time. My 1946 Fanny Farmer and 1964 Joy of Cooking recommend boiling corn for up to 10 minutes. When I first started writing this column in 2013, I followed their advice.

Jo Robinson’s book, “Eating on the Wild Side,” about the nutritional history of fruits and vegetables, discourages boiling corn in water. “This brutality has got to stop,” she writes. “The less contact corn has with water, the more nutrients stay in the kernels.”

So I turned to our seldom-used microwave. I was surprised some years ago when I started hearing support from microwave advocates with impeccable eco-credentials, including the late Dr. Gene Willeke, longtime Director of Miami’s Institute for the Environment and Sustainability.

Most of our local corn is chewier with a more intense “cornier” flavor than silver queen. Microwaving rather than boiling or grilling enhances the “cornier” flavor.

To microwave corn, Jo Robinson advises removing outer husks but leaving the corn fully wrapped and protected inside some inner husks. Cook 2 ears in the microwave for a total of 5 minutes, 3 ears for 7 minutes, or 4 ears for 9 minutes.

The microwaved corn is very hot, so leave the ears for a few minutes before removing them with an oven mitt. One benefit of microwaving is that the husk and especially the silk are now so soft that they peel away more easily and quickly than when shucking uncooked corn.

Published recipes for grilling haven’t worked for me, leaving corn too raw or burnt, so this year, I made up a recipe. I shucked the corn, placed each ear on a separate piece of foil, added a pat of butter, wrapped the foil, and placed the ears on the grill for 10 minutes, rotating after 5 minutes.

We actually think leftover corn tastes better. Cut the leftover corn off the cob and sauté in butter with some dill, paprika, and diced local tomatoes.

MOON Co-op is Oxford’s consumer-owned full-service grocery, featuring natural, local, organic, sustainable, and Earth-friendly products. The store, located at 516 S. Locust St. in Oxford, is open to the public every day. Visit the website at