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Should You Boil Corn on the Cob in Salted Water?

 I have been told that if you salt the water you use to boil corn on the cob it will make the corn tough. Is this true?

 We had the pleasure of meeting Hervé This earlier this year. Monsieur This (pronounced Teeess — long e, short s) is one of the leading food scientists in the world, author of several books including Molecular Gastronomy, and totally charming. He said he has been compiling for quite a few years a list of what we in English might call old wives' tales related to food and cooking. As he has time, he tries to create scientific experiments to validate or debunk these rules.

The problem is, he said, it can take weeks or months to come up with and perform appropriate tests for a single old wives' tale, and his list has already grown to more than 20,000 entries. We imagine your salt-in-the-corn-water question is still on his to-do list.

The extension services of the universities of Illinois and Ohio — two great corn-growing states — agree that salt in the water toughens the kernels. So until we get absolute validation from M. This sometime in the year 2216, we're going with what the Midwestern universities say.

You may not mind a little sugar or honey in the boiling water, though....

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