Warmer temperatures mean more summer cookouts and opportunities to cook for a crowd. And with that comes cooking hacks for making life easier.
It sounds like an easy way to cook corn for a crowd. But it could be risky to make “cooler corn.”
A viral social media post way back in 2020 by Kristy Schwabe has recently resurfaced in a few Facebook groups, explaining how to cook corn on the cob for a crowd using a plastic cooler.
The premise is that if you’re cooking a lot of ears of corn for a crowd, you can clean a regular cooler, place ears of corn in the cooler and dump boiling hot water over the corn, close the lid and allow them to cook.
The method is said to be an old method used by campers.
“A Coleman cooler appears from the garage, is wiped clean, then filled with the shucked ears,” she writes. “Next, two kettles-full of bounding water are poured over the corn and the top closed.”
Schwabe shares that, 30 minutes later, the corn was “perfectly cooked.”
“My mind was blown,” she continues, adding that the cooking hack is well-known among frequent outdoor cooks. “And I’m told that the corn will remain at the perfect level of doneness for a couple hours.”
Schwabe did not respond to requests for comment about the viral technique.
But Herve Malivert, Director of Culinary Affairs at the Institute of Culinary Education, warns against this hazardous hack.
“Plastic coolers are not designed for such high temperatures — like boiling water — and will start to degrade over time,” he told TODAY Food. “The plastic from the cooler is soft and can scratch easily, allowing foodborne pathogens to grow and boiling water may not kill all bacteria.”
However, plastic is not the only thing that can put people in danger. Malivert confirmed that it is also unwise and unsafe to leave corn in a cooler like that for hours.
“The temperature will drop into the dangerous zone (between 41-135 F) and bacteria will start to multiply rapidly, I understand the idea of using the cooler to control the temperature of the water, but I would not recommend this technique,” He reported.
Instead of using the cooler method, Malivert recommends another method. First, shuck the corn. Fill a large pot with water, add salt, and bring it to a boil. Cook for about five minutes. You’ll know it’s done when you can easily remove a kernel.