Few foods cross as many social and economic barriers as corn, especially in the U.S., where per capita consumption of corn is higher than anywhere else in the world. That’s why many Americans have a particular affinity for Corn on the Cob Day, an annual holiday that celebrates the beauty and crunchy goodness of the United States’ most important crop.

Long before it was produced on the massive scale it is today, corn, known by several nicknames – including “pole corn,” “cornstick,” “sweet pole” and “butter-pop” – was a staple of the Native American diet. The crop played a major role in the ancient Mayan civilization nearly 2,000 years ago. The Mayans considered corn, also called maiz, a gift from the gods.

Today, corn is made into chowder, creamed corn, cornbread and succotash, and is also eaten whole. Here are a few tips on preparing the perfect corn on the cob: Keep the corn chilled until you’re ready to cook it. This will maintain the corn’s sweetness and prevent its natural sugars from turning into starch, according to the Huntsville Times. Also, when choosing corn at a market or roadside stand, look for bright green husks and smell the corn to test for freshness (it should smell like it just came from the field.)

National Corn on the Cob Day happens every year on June 11. To celebrate, here are three ways to prepare corn on the cob to buttery, golden-yellow perfection.  

Grilling corn. You want the grill on medium when preparing corn on the cob on the barbecue, according to the Food Network. Pull the outer husks down and remove the silk from inside. Then, replace the husks and soak the corn in cold water with one tablespoon of salt for about 10 minutes. You’ll grill the corn for about 15 to 20 minutes, turning three or four times. For complete directions, click here

Boiling corn. You’ll need lemon juice and sugar to bring out the best in boiled corn. Fill a large pot three-fourths full of water and bring to a boil. Remove husks and silk before placing in the pot and cook for about 10 minutes until the corn is tender. Check out AllRecipes.com for more on boiling the perfect corn. 

Roasting corn. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove husks and silks and butter corn before wrapping it in foil. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes. Food.com has the perfect recipe for roasted corn on the cob.