Painless Corn Husking

I had a really solid childhood. Like, really good. My parents never forgot my birthday. I lived in a neighborhood with a ton of kids so I always had a playmate. I loved spending time with my extended family. But there are a few memories that I just absolutely hated.

Every summer, my parents would come home with two things. Cherries and corn.

I don’t even remember getting to eat the cherries, but I remember sitting outside on the porch for hours and hours and sticking my thumb inside of cherries to poke the pit out. My whole arm would be covered from fingers to elbow with sticky red juice. If you remember my camping rant, you may remember that I hate having sticky hands. Or really, feeling anything on my hands. Even sometimes I’ll use hand sanitizer and then have to go wash it off because I can feel it on my hands. So you can imagine how little interest I had in being coated in cherry juice.

Cherries were bad…but corn was much worse. I had zero arm strength so within five ears my arms were like Jell-o, I was covered in tiny strings, and I somehow had lost three ears in the giant pile of corn leaves (If you know the actual name of corn leaves, please let me know. I can’t imagine “corn leaves” is correct.) And I don’t know how accurate this is since I was about six, but I remember having about 200 ears that we had to husk. Again, I was six. There were probably actually like, three ears that I had to husk…or shuck depending on where you’re from.

Our technique was something akin to, “just pull as hard as you can on the leaves.” And I was NOT strong enough to pull anything, let alone 200 things in a row.

When I worked in the produce department of a grocery store, I finally learned this trick from the produce manager. He had something that looked like a machete and he would place the end of the ear just over the edge of the table with a trashcan beneath. He’d take a big whack and knock off the end. I like his idea…but I’m guessing you DON’T have a machete and even more importantly you DEFINITELY are interested in keeping all of your fingers. So I started using the technique below!

And guess what…I have great news… It’s so darn easy!

1. Gather Your Supplies

This is pretty simple, you’ll need:

  1. Corn
  2. Cutting Board
  3. Chef’s Knife

corn-3932 (2)

2. Slice off both ends.

This can take a little bit of elbow grease depending on how thick your corn is, but I like that I then end up with two flat ends!

3. Now peel!

By cutting off both ends, I have fewer little strings that stick around.

Also, if you are having trouble with peeling, just use your knife to make a little slice in the husk. That will help you get started.

4. Let them eat corn!

The last step is just to wipe your hands all over the corn to get rid of the little strings.

To cook my corn, I just boil a large pot of water (depending on how many ears I have), and once it has started to boil, I drop the corn in the boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. Usually after 5 I turn off the heat and then the corn stays in the hot water until I’ve finished cooking the rest of the meal.

I still haven’t gotten down how people manage to keep everything in a meal hot before serving it. This is one of the beautiful things about corn. It stays hot for a while when I forget it in the hot water.

corn-3932 (8)


Shout Out & Fun Fact!

My cousin let me use her kitchen for this quick shoot before we had dinner at her house. Thanks, Kara! And Kyle cooked the meal on the stove behind me between shots. So nice! Also, they’re both teachers so I had to learn something while I was there. Kyle taught me that there is a string attached to every kernel of corn. That’s how the kernel gets water and nutrients! Fun fact of the day.

fastest way to husk corn

If you’re really in a hurry.

I’ve also used this method where you microwave the corn BEFORE you husk it.

All you do is microwave the whole ear with its husk for four minutes, cut off the stem end, and (with an oven mitt) squeeze the other end until the corn falls out.

I don’t think that it tastes quite as good, but I do use this method occasionally when I am in a hurry.

2 thoughts on “Painless Corn Husking

  1. Wow, rough childhood. I don’t remember cherries, so it was probably just once. Corn, a few times, but mom wasn’t into it. Silk is actually how the kernels get fertilized by pollen blowing it to each of those silks, which makes corn even more amazing. I’m pretty sure the pollen has to even get onto the tips of each silk (sorry, no water or nutrients with silk, the roots do that). I like the cutting off the ends method! (grandpa would be afraid to lose a couple of kernels).


    1. The cherries were from the trees in the back yard! I remember now. The two cherry trees that we always regretted having. Did you look up the silks info? That’s probably what Kyle actually said…I didn’t inherit the best memory. 😉


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