Why It's Important To Refrigerate Corn As Soon As You Get It

Corn on the cob is a beloved staple in the United States. Steam it, grill it, roast it, bake it, love it. According to Popular Science, there is just no other fruit, grain, or vegetable that can compare, and we do have a deep affection for this strangely classified food. Food Network notes that you can find corn growing in all 50 states and it is at its sweetest from May to September. We eat it at backyard barbecues and summer sit-down dinners with friends. No fourth of July celebration would be complete without figuring out the best ways to dress corn on the cob, and then enjoying the corny fruits of your labor.

If you need proof about just how much we love corn, just check out the numbers. Per the United States Department of Agriculture's stats, corn was the "largest crop" American farmers grew in 2019. That doesn't even cover how much of this stalk vegetable we actually consume. Statista reports that in 2020, the U.S. ate more corn than any other country — 5.5 pounds per person, to be exact. But when you buy corn on the cob, whether at a roadside stand, local farmer's market, or grocery store, you might be surprised to learn that you need to refrigerate it right away. Here's why.

It keeps it sweet

According to The Kitchn, placing your corn on the cob in your refrigerator right after you purchase it will help it stay sweet and juicy. Why? The Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation explains that the sugar in corn begins to turn to starch once it has been picked. The site goes on to share that when corn isn't eaten the same day it is picked, the flavor and texture start to change, and this becomes particularly noticeable when you cook it. No one wants corn that has gone bad or a cob that's past its prime. But let's face it, most of us aren't eating corn on the cob the same day it is picked, which is why the refrigerator is our friend.

Southern Living reveals that if you do store your corn in the refrigerator, it will stay fresh for about two days, but the good news is if life happens and you can't consume it that quickly, you can always freeze it. But if you do plan to eat it in that 1-2 day period when your corn on the cob is nestled safely in the fridge, resist your urge to remove the husks. Keeping them intact will help to ensure your corn on the cob retains its moisture. Lastly, keep it in the crisper drawer, and when you are ready to eat, you'll have delicious corn on the cob ready to be grilled, boiled, or slathered in butter.