Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ear Today, Gone Tomorrow

A light wind swept over the corn,
and all nature laughed in the sunshine.
-Anne Bronte

Nothing says summer like an ear of fresh corn. In fact, I'm convinced that corn kernels are nothing more than sunshine broken into edible bits.

My corn growing scheme came up short this year. It was my first time trying to plant it in earnest, and I stubbornly refused the advice of all my gardening books and planted it in a long, crooked row. Foolish. The stalks grew straight and green but the ears of corn didn't pollinate. (They don't, since corn is wind pollinated and does better planted in 4' by 4' squares.) So I netted a total of five and a half ears of corn, each with missing and lazily lined-up kernels. Hardly a corn windfall, if you know what I mean. It was a disappointment; I love corn and it doesn't last long around here.

Oh well. I found fresh corn at the farmer's market - 5 ears for $1. Yeah. I blanched six and left them whole, hoping to enjoy them this winter. The rest I cut from the cobs, blanched, and bagged to freeze for winter soups and holiday corn casseroles. (And say what you will, but Rachael Ray's 2-bowl method for cutting corn from the cob is the best. Turn a small bowl upside down in a large bowl, stand the ear of corn upright on the small bowl, and turn the cob as you slice the kernels off, top to bottom. Easy as can be.)

I tossed all the husks and silks into a pail for composting. There's something about watching yesterday's corn waste become today's compost that feeds tomorrow's corn crop that makes me satisfied. Happy, almost. It's nice to see nothing go to waste; to waste not and want not.

Oh. And in case you were wondering, there are many uses for your naked corn cobs. Historically, they were used in outhouses for toilet paper. (Really.) Of course, you could also make corn cob pipes. You could have corn cob fights. You could burn the cobs for fuel, grind them up for feed, or leave them in the garden for organic compost.

Or you can give them to the puppy, who ran off with this one and mauled it so quickly that by the time I got my camera, there wasn't much left of it to snap.

We do love our corn here.

That said, the food preserving will be put on hold for a few days for a quick trip. (I have offers to go to Alaska, central Texas, and Wyoming. Where will I go next?) Enjoy your corn, nature, and sunshine this weekend. -Brin

(Update: advice in the comments says never give your dogs corn cobs as they can choke on them. Millie enjoyed chewing on the cob I gave her yesterday, but she is a puppy and cannot yet chew through it. To play it safe, it is probably best not to give your dogs corn cobs. Oh. And popular opinion is also that the bundt pan method for cutting corn off the cob is the best. I agree. It's just that I know most of my friends, and therefore many readers of this blog, don't own bundt pans. Nearly everyone owns two bowls, though. Use whichever is available and works for you.)


Sarah and Jack said...

I wish corn were that cheap here this year. I could buy it for that last year, but not even close this year, or I would be stocking up too.

Jenny said...

Good job! I think I'm going to try growing some next year.

Miz Millie is getting SO big! Wow!

I t hink I would choose Alaska, but any of the three would be wonderful! Have fun and be safe!

Harbor Hon said...

I'm with Millie ... get it while the getting's good. Here in Maryland we have "silver queen" white corn. It is the best! xxoo

Mia said...

Hmm... sudden craving for corn.

But wow is it pricey this year!

Linda Z said...

Sunshine broken into edible bits... I love that!!! :) Unfortunately, I'm the only corn enthusiast at my house... I just don't get it. What's not do love about a buttered and salted cob freshly roasted or boiled. Yummy!!

I also love it in tortilla soup.

Anonymous said...


I've been following your blog for a few months now and want to know if you will give us a tutorial on how to make fabric flowers like the ones you had in your etsy shop a while back. Thanks-Brandy

lyn. said...

I discovered an even easier way than RR's to get the corn off the cob... use a bundt pan!

The end of the ear of corn stays secure in the little opening in the middle of the pan and the corn falls neatly inside...

Susan said...

Would love to see photos of Wyoming and where will Miss Millie stay if you go all the way to Alaska ? ?

The Babysitters Love said...

I've chosen you for a blog award! Pick it up on my blogspot! Love your page!!

Kristie @ Comfy Cozy said...

I use an angel food pan to cut my corn off the cob. It works great.

Sounds like you have several options for your next adventure...can't wait to see which you pick.

Millie is growing so fast!! She's adorable!

Lynne said...

PLEASE do not give your dogs corn cobs! Most dogs do not chew them, but ingest whole pieces that get stuck in their gut. Emergency surgery is not fun!

Julie said...

We've tried growing corn, too. Not much luck with us, either.
I'll remember that tip, you gave, next time! Thanks!

I think I'd choose Alaska, too!
Our little boy, definitely would!!!
He told us (when he was 7) that he wanted to move there because it was too cold for germs to survive and you wouldn't get sick. Turns out, he was talking about a book he had read on Antartica and now (he's 8) he says wants to stay closer to home. Praise the Lord!!!

Whichever you choose, be safe and be blessed!


Linda Lou said...

Love your blog! Love your photos, love your house, love corn!!

Lynne said...

Brin, they don't choke on them, that's not the problem. The get stuck in the intestines on the way through. Sometimes it can take weeks before you realize that your dog is obstructed. This can cause high levels of toxicity in the intestines as the corn cob just sits there and festers. A very dangerous condition for dogs!

Just a heads up ... I've known too many people who had to do emergency surgeries on their dogs to remove corn cob sections.

Best, Lynne

Amy said...

Jim wants to plant a small garden after reading your blog about yours. Where do you recommend getting seeds? Or do you prefer to start from a seedling?

Corey Davis said...

I'd go to Alaska for sure! It's going to be beautiful this time of year. My parents lived there for a couple years. They took me kayaking and we camped at the bottom of a glacier. I heard parts of the glacier splitting apart and dropping into the lake as I was sleeping. Have you ever been? I think I actually own a bundt pan (never been used by me of course), but if I recollect correctly it has a hole at the top of the projectile piece so I wouldn't be able to set a piece of corn on it. Have fun on your trip Brin.

Unknown said...

Live and learn, you'll get it next year! I love that idea of using 2 bowls for easy shucking, how cleaver that Rachel Ray is! I can't believe how big Millie is? Have a safe trip, I'd love to visit both Alaska and Wyoming some day!

Val said...

I completely heart all your stories and am also so jealous of all your tomatoes!

I just started using my blog and this is my first time to leave a post here, i'm horrible at it but trying to get better. I read your blog everyday :) I'm letting you know because I put a link to your blog under my "places I must visit everyday" tag and I want to make sure that is OK with you. This means that you inspire me :) I don't think it is really very interesting yet, but it is fun!

Betty said...

Quite the informative post, Brin..thanks! I like the '2 bowl' idea.
When I still had a garden large enough to plant corn I'd always plant it in short rows and at the time never realized that I was doing the right thing! I'm a' hankerin' for some corn on the cob..

Essential Oil Premier University said...

Oh your pup is getting so big Brin!!



Sissy said...

Alaska is marvelous, and if you can go in the summer...GO!

We planted corn once and never got to eat any since it became a delicious snack for all the deer in the neighborhood. I can just hear the deer talking now..."hey, there's some corn in the lady's yard and there ain't no fence! Snack time!"

lyn. said...

Corey: the hole on a bundt pan is just big enough for the tip of the corn cob to rest on and not get away from you. If you can't find your bundt pan to see, you can check out a picture of it here...

It really does work! (•_•)