Good corn on the cob always begins with selecting the freshest and just ripe ears of your favorite variety of corn. The absolute best corn is corn that is picked ripe and straight from your own vegetable garden! Now I know everybody can not have a garden and grow their own corn, so pick fresh corn from your local market carefully!
When buying corn at the market, the husks (outer green covering) should be bright green and fit snugly around the ear of corn. The kernels should be in tight rows right to the tip of the ear of corn, and be plump and milky. In the grocery store, it is perfectly acceptable (well maybe a little frowned on) to peel back the outer green husk to check and see if the corn looks OK to you.
For maximum freshness, husk the corn just before cooking. When ready to cook your corn on the cob, pull all the husks off of the corn and discard. Remove silk (the white hairy threads just under the husk) from the corn and discard. TIP: To help remove the silk, wet a paper towel and wipe down the corn
How to boil and cook corn on the cob:
Choose a pot large enough to hold the amount of corn you want to cook, with room for water to cover the corn. Cover pot and bring cold unsalted water just to a boil on high heat. Some people like to add a little sugar to the boiling water, but never add salt as it will only toughen the corn.
Add husked corn ears and bring the water back to a boil on high heat (covered or not). Since corn tends to float on top of the water, I cover the pot. This helps the water come back to a boil faster and helps the corn cook. It will take approximately 3 to 4 minutes to bring the water back to a boil. Once water comes back to a boil, immediately remove the corn ears from the water. The corn is now cooked perfectly and NOT overcooked.
Boiling time is a matter of taste; some people like to just boil them a minute or two to warm their corn on the cob, leaving the kernels crisp and fresh. Others like to let them boil 3 to 10 minutes for softer kernels. How long you cook your corn on the cob depends on your tastes, but Grandma Myers' Corn Tip is my family's way of cooking them (see below):
Grandma Myers' Corn Tip - Put a pot of water on the stove. While the water comes to a boil, choose and husk your corn. Drop the corn into the boiling water. When the water comes to a boil again, remove the corn from the water. IT'S DONE!
Remove the cooked corn ears from the hot water with tongs.
Serve with butter, salt, and pepper. Some people like to roll their hot corn on a stick of butter, others spread the butter with a knife. Your choice!
TIP: If you're having a party, borrow this trick from markets in Mexico. Vendors selling ears of corn for snacks keep them ready and waiting for several hours in tubs of lukewarm water. Instead of butter, ears are rubbed with lime wedges and sprinkled with salt. This nonfat alternative is very good. I have not tried this technique.