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Corn shucking

When I was at home in Maine recently, I volunteered to be the corn shucker, 2 dozen ears. I'm easy to please when I'm shucking for myself, but wanted this corn to be done cleanly and silk free. It was laughable. I found myself going back and back to pull off more stray silk. Any tips?

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  1. A number of years ago I was editing a book of cooking tips. One of the contributors was a New England chef who insisted that the only effective way to shuck corn was to pull the husks down, snap off the stem at the base, and rub the ear in a circular motion under cold running water to remove the silk. I nearly always cook corn in the husk in the microwave so I haven't tried this myself, but would love to know if it works as well as she said it did.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      Thanks, Joan. I'll try that, and let you know if it works. pat

      1. re: JoanN

        I use this method and it works pretty well.

      2. Last weekend I saw my grandmother using a brush to get the silk off corn. It looked like a brush you'd use to clean potatoes. I assume you'd have to be pretty gentle so as not to damage the kernels. I haven't tried this method yet, but it seems like it would work pretty well.

        1 Reply
        1. re: SarahEats

          Interesting, because I actually asked my sister (the picky one!) if she had a vegetable brush. She didn't. I bet she'll have one by the time I go again, though!

        2. What I have done for years it cut off the tip of the ear and bottom with a very sharp knife, before you shuck it and then proceed to shuck. I find very little of the silk is left after that. Just a quick brush and it is done.

          1. I have a "corn brush" -- soft, plastic - that's supposed to remove silk, but I don't find that it works better than really careful screening and pulling of the strands. This is tedious, and if anyone has a tried-and-true method, I'd love to hear about it.

            1. As the designated shucker in our family, I usually resort to the cold water treatment. Someone recently told me an interesting fact. It seems that each silk hair pollinated in the tassel produces a different kernel on the cob. Not only that, Wikipedia says that young corn ears can be consumed whole, cob, husk, silk and all. I've seen those tiny corn ears in Chinese dishes, but never the whole schmier.

              1 Reply
              1. re: DonShirer

                I'd consider being "designated shucker" a dubious honor, but not one likely to be bestowed on me! The corn we had was the best I've had in years, and I can understand the "eating the cob" thing. We all bit too deep a couple of times and got some cob along with the kernels; it was that tender. I plan to try all the above methods, before corn is gone from the market.