Â Â Garden season is in high swing around here in the balmy North. Although I have not gotten much produce yet from my own gardens, I have been seriously spending my time canning up what I can get, and filling our pantry for the coming year.
Â Â I have noticed two things lately that keep sticking out in my mind.
First—when I used to be one of the only ones who clothed my kids at the thrift store (and got so many compliments on how cute they are dressed), now it seems everyone else is doing the same thing now, and if that is not a sign of the times, I don’t know what is.
Second, when I was the one that stuck out in the checkout line because I was buying 5 lugs of peaches and everyone was staring and whispering, instead I am now holding a three way conversation with ladies on either side of me who both have five lugs of peaches in their carts. I can honestly say that has NEVER happened before, and to know both those women were novice canners, worried about the economy and the food situation here in America, both with families, well……..those are the kind of conversations I live for because I get to do, in person, what I do every day on here—encourage, inform, and have a face to go with my prayers.
Â Â It being garden season, I was worried whether we would be able to get sweet corn as we always do due to the drought, and high temps affecting our sweet corn crop. We can do just fine without sweet corn, but there is something so quintessentially summer about corn on the cob, shucking corn at the picnic table, and puttingÂ up corn for the cold months, that it made me a little sad to think we might not have it this year.
Â Â I have to be honest, dear readers. I almost gave up in my quest. I stopped at three roadside stands looking for reasonably priced ears of corn, and each time the price was between $6 and $9 a dozen. Perhaps I am proud, or suspicious…..although I like to think of myself as trying to support the little guy, but I just could not bring myself to pay that price…or break down and go to the grocery store and buy it off the shelf.
Â Â Then, in a burst of brilliance that rarely happens, I remembered a small farm off the road and off the beaten path that had ALWAYS had a road side stand of corn for a reasonable price in years gone by. A little bit of a drive later, I was smiling, shaking my head, and thanking God I live “in the country”.
Â A picnic table. Three overflowing bins of corn. An ice cream bucket with “$3 a Dozen, Make your own change (but we take tips)”, another bin with plastic bags, and a handwritten note that said :“Dear customers, we are sorry this year that we have so little corn for you, but we were hit hard with the drought and high temps. We are also sorry we have to charge more this year than last. We will try to make it up to you next year.”. 12 dozen ears and a sizeable tip later (as well as a little thank you note stuck in the money bucket), I was on my way home with corn practically taking over my kids and the minivan, and my heart happy that there are still good and generous people in this world.
Â Â So I know I don’t normally post on Saturdays, but since I cheated you out of a post this week, I thought I would make it up to you.
Â Â I want to tell you how you can use the WHOLE EAR OF CORN, and make different products for your family, just in case you are thinking about making the most of what you have right now (and who isnt??).
Â Â Â A single ear of corn creates around 1/2 cup of corn off the cob. Then you have the husks, the silk, and the cob to consider.
Believe it or not, every single one of those things can be used, and a delicious or useful product created out of it.
Â Â Â It goes without saying that the corn can be used for corn that you either freeze or can. I chose to can mine this year, and it is as easy as can be with a pressure canner. I used 1/4 tsp of salt in each pint jar, filled with corn freshly cut off the cob, fill the jars with boiling water up to the bottom thread on the jar, cap with a warm lid and ring, and process for 55 minutes at whatever pressure is necessary for where you live (mine is 11 lbs pressure). If you do it in quarts, it is 75 minutes processing time. I made 16 pints of garlic corn (seasoned with garlic salt and pepper), 16 of onion corn (seasoned with sea salt, dried onion from the garden and pepper) and 16 pints just plain sweet corn (1/4 tsp salt per pint jar).
Â Â Now for the corn silk.
Keep only the clean, undamaged corn silks (in the picture, that was before I trimmed the dark parts off–just keep the bright, clean parts), and dry it either on a tray, or in your dehydrator. Corn silk was used by the Native Americans for a very long time as a diuretic and stomach healing tonic. All that is needed is making it into a tea, or even into a syrup, that is taken to settle an upset stomach. It is actually quite pleasant, and if you are prone to bloating during certain times of the month, or have issues with kidney stones or urinary tract infections, corn silk is a gentle, simple diuretic that can be used to treat that. It stores very easily either in a jar, or in a container that is kept air tight.
Â How about those corn husks? Well, there are two things you can use the corn husks for, neither of which resembles the doll-making skills of the pioneers. 🙂
Â Â I dry some of the corn husks every year for my tamale making. I am careful not to choose the outermost ones, as I can never be sure how much or how little the corn has been sprayed with any nasty chemicals. I always choose the largest, best corn husks from the inside, and dry them. This means if you have young helpers, especially twins with a bent for destruction, that you only let them tear off the outside ones so you can carefully remove the best ones from the inside before they are in shreds on the floor, or the poor cat is being held in a corner being force-fed them.
Â Â Another way to use them is along with the corn cobs to make a veggie stock that is to-die-for, and great for Chicken and Corn Potato Chowder, cooking rice, or as a base for other soups.
Â Â Here is a great link for a recipe that shows you how to use those, and if you don’t end up drooling by the end of the recipe, it is simply not my fault…………
|From Chickens In The Road Blog|