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The Whole Corn: Husk, Kernel, Cob & Silk

by on August 12, 2015
 

I’m a fan of ‘whole food’ cooking – putting every part to good use. Enter, food52 and their ‘How to use a whole ear of corn‘ post. Here it goes:

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The Husks

Nature has a way of creating its own vessels and corn husks, like banana leaves make great ‘containers’. I’ve ladled Ube’camole into fresh and steamed husks, and I’ve done what the Mexicans do for tamales with dried-then-dehydrated husks but with fresh ones, as wrappers for a version of MoinMoin.

What you should know:

  • Wash your cobs well
  • Remove and discard the tough, outer husks which might be bruised and stained. Rinse, then snip off the tips of the husks
  • With a heavy knife, slice the bottom clean so the husks can be loosened from the base 

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To prepare for use

  • For dips, wash in clean, salty water and drain before use
  • For wrapping food for steaming, blanch in water for 5 minutes then use

The Silk

Once the husks are off, the silk is revealed – it should be a glossy gold/ pale yellow colour. This apparently makes a delicious tea and a light, corny inclusion in salads that requires no more than steeping in hot water and snipping over a salad. I dream of one with sweet tomatoes, soft boiled eggs, crunchy green beans, rings of black olives, diced & vinegared onions and fresh corn kernels, sprinkled all over. Did I forget cilantro? No way, Jose.

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What you should know:

  • Gently remove the silk. Any wet, dark brown bits should be snipped off and discarded. To prepare for use
  • Gently rinse silk
  • Refrigerate to use from fresh or dry, covered in the sun and use accordingly 

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The Kernels

Slice off the kernels and use as you wish – blend to make a corn paste that could be fried, steamed, incorporated into a bake and what ever else your sweet heart desires.

What you should know:

  • Fresh corn kernels should give when pressed, give with creamy juice
  • Use corn immediately after purchase. Blanch or microwave whole cobs or shaved off kernels then use as you wish

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The Cobs

If you love sucking on corn cobs…like I do, then this is right up your street. A stock, made with the cobs that is infused with that rice, sunshine flavour.

What you should know:

  • Boil cobs in well-salted water till the fragrance fills the room
  • Drain, strain off the stock and still suck on the cobs. Win-win-win

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So there, all sorts of things to do with a whole ear of corn. Next? A steamed corn pudding.