The warm summer months are the perfect time to fire up the BBQ to grill corn on the cob for everyone to enjoy. Once ready to serve, you can sweeten the corn with sugar and lemon juice, serve it savory with parmesan cheese and garlic or just keep it simple the old-fashioned way by slathering it with butter. While corn may be a delicious eat, there has been some debate over whether it’s actually healthy or not. This stems mainly from the fact that corn isn’t exactly the easiest food to digest. Thankfully, there are some health benefits to corn; this yellow food is high in fiber and protein. Another truth about corn is that it has a relatively short shelf life. This makes it extremely important to know how to tell when corn has gone bad.
How Long Is Corn Good For?
When properly stored in the refrigerator, corn on the cob is good for three to five days. Whether you bought it in the husk or not, it should always be tightly wrapped in plastic or foil. If you fail to do so, even a little bit of air exposure can cause the corn to dry out. Once corn has been cooked, it lasts from three to five days in the fridge and from 10 to 12 months in the freezer. This can actually be extended to an indefinite length of time if the corn is stored in the freezer at zero degrees Fahrenheit.
If you notice browning on cooked corn kernels, don't panic; this happens when the corn has been stored at a too-high temperature. The ideal temperature to store corn is at 35 degrees F.
Does Corn on the Cob Expire?
Corn does expire, cooked or uncooked. There are a few signs – both in aroma and appearance – that will let you known when corn has gone bad.
Corn smell: If you notice an off-smell – one that is moldy or rancid – the corn is definitely spoiled and should be discarded right away.
Corn appearance: If you notice a slimy texture on the corn or mold, it is spoiled and should be tossed.
Freezing Corn on the Cob
The secret to freezing corn on the cob without compromising flavor lies in water blanching the corn. The process of water blanching involves scalding food in boiling hot water and, after a brief period, plunging it into a bath of cold water as a way to shock the food and stop the cooking process.
To do this with corn on the cob, water blanch it for four minutes and then allow it to cool for about 30 seconds. After this, plunge the corn into ice water for four minutes. Then cut the kernels off the cob into small portions and place in freezer bags in the freezer. Freezing corn on the cob in the husk is definitely possible. Simply place the corn in freezer-friendly bags and store in the freezer.
How to Reheat Corn on the Cob
When you have cooked corn on the cob for leftovers, reheating it is super simple and doesn’t compromise the crunch or flavor. Start by covering the corn on the cob in a damp paper towel and place it in a microwave-safe dish. To ensure that the corn doesn't turn into popcorn (yes, this can happen), heat the corn in 10- to 20-second bursts of time. Reheat until it’s warm enough that when you lather it in butter, the butter melts.
- Still Tasty: Food Storage – How Long Can You Keep Corn on the Cob
- Food Reference: Corn: Cooking Corn on the Cob
- Eat By Date: How Long Does Corn Last?
- First for Women: How to Reheat Corn on the Cob So It's Juicy, Crunchy and Sweet
- Still Tasty: Food Storage — How Long Can You Keep Corn, Commercially Canned or Bottled
- Stono Farm Market: Sweet Corn Facts and Recipes
- Better Homes & Gardens: How to Blanch Vegetables
Sarah is a multi-platform writer and editor. Her work has appeared in USA Today, Vital Proteins, Healthline, Diply, and more. When she's not writing, she's trying to keep up with her border collie, Emmy.