National Corn on the Cob Day was Tuesday this week. Did you celebrate? I sure did. I just love food holidays. It often gives me a good excuse to splurge, this time it gave me a good reason to get corny! Ha! If you don’t believe me, just check out the corniest Big Xtra Hour Segment.
Yes, I did a whole segment on the many uses of corn on the cob and just in time for Father’s Day grilling. We all know how dad likes to play around the grill and around a campfire, so let’s give him lots to do!
Corn on the cob is such a summer staple, but how many times have you simply tossed out the cobs, husk, and silk? Stop, there’s gold in all of it! Most people know about the rich stock that can be made with the cobs, but how about stock with the husks and silk? Yes!
In the below picture, the dish on the left is the golden stock made with corn cobs, the middle is stock made from the husks and silk, not as golden but still full of flavor, and the last is a smoked corn cob stock. Tell dad to throw the cobs onto grill when everyone sits to eat and the coals are finally perfect! As a reminder corn stock is so easy, simply add to a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, add peppercorns and bay leaves, reduce heat. Simmer for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. Add additional water if needed. Strain.
I like the woodsy flavor of the husk and silk stock, so I use it for tortilla soup, mushroom soups, and SIMPLE SYRUP for bourbon or whiskey cocktails. Simple syrup comes by its’ name honestly, it’s sure simple to make. Add equal parts of husk and silk corn cob stock and sugar to saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Let cool then refrigerate. Use in cocktails or as syrup for pancakes and waffles.
I like to use the smoked cob stock for spicy soups like chorizo and black bean and to make BBQ SAUCE.
To a saucepan, add 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup smoked corn cob stock, 2 TBSP white wine vinegar, 1 tsp maple syrup or maple bourbon, 1 TBSP chili powder. Bring to a simmer. Cook 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
I like to use the corn cob stock in my MeMaw’s Maque Choux, for shrimp and corn soup, any chowders, and to make CORN COB JELLY.
Corn cob stock jelly is definitely old school, you can find many recipes online that call for pectin and yellow food coloring. I prefer to add a bit of cornstarch. Add 1/2 corn cob stock to a small saucepan, bring to a boil, stir in 1 TBSP sugar, return to a boil, when sugar is dissolved, add in 1 tsp cornstarch mixed into 1 TBSP of corn cob stock. Return to a boil. Stir until thickened. Remove from heat. Let cool. Refrigerate. I love the jelly with biscuits or cornbread and I love to mix it with butter for hot corn on the cob. Talk about a full circle of flavor!
After making stock, dry the cobs. Oven dry cobs to use as fuel for campfires or to use like wood chips the next time dad grills. Set on baking rack on cookie sheet in a low oven, 175*, bake 6-8 hours, flipping halfway through. Husks can be oven dried the same way, reducing time to 2-3 hours. Use for tamales, (smoke husks before drying for a more flavorful tamale) for kindling, for crafts, or spread with peanut butter and bird seed for wildlife.
Like to cook with banana leaves? Do the same with corn husks. Quickly rinse husks or soak in beer, wine, pickle or jalapeno juice. Blot off excess. Use to wrap food to be cooked-sausage, chicken, fish, or even hot dogs. Place seam side down first.
Put on Your TO COOK IS TO CREATE Thinking Cap: There are so many uses for corn cob stocks, think about what recipes could benefit with a rich corn flavor and use it in place of water or other stocks. Don’t forget to use the stocks for sauces, too, like Grilled Corn Sauce for fish or pasta. If it’s too hot to even think about soups, make the stock and freeze it for winter. Like poached fish? Add stock to white wine for a flavorful poaching liquid.
FOOD FUN: I love starting off my mornings on the BIG XTRA HOUR show. This segment sure was corny, but doesn’t that go perfectly with all of dad’s corny jokes he has told over the ears, I mean years! By the way, do you know why corn is such a good listener? Watch to find out!