Dreams of husk and silk steamed with corny jokes

Corn on kitchen counter

This Sunday morning we are freezing local fresh sweet corn.

Last week, on a whim, I followed “Sweet Corn” signs through L’Anse, turn here, now turn there, out by the Little League ball field, to a pickup truck filled to the brim with green-husked corn creatures, manned by a mom and pop and smiling granddaughter.

How many do you want?

Dreams of corn

The corn lay bundled in plastic grocery bags, half-dozen or dozen, depending on your crew waiting at home eager to munch into hot steamed cobs lathered with butter and sprinkled with salt.

A half-dozen, please. Thank you.

Simmering corn

I tossed the corn in the crisper, way down at the bottom of the frig, when Barry arrived home from work with two more cobs of corn, and now, this sunny, 65 degree Sunday morning, it’s time to heat up the black pot and dunk the creatures within to blanch fiercely for 4 minutes before immersing in ice-cold water.

But first, you remember, don’t you, the husking away of green and silk?  Husk away, dear cookers and eaters.  Aren’t cleaning away the soft wispy silky hairs a pain one must endure in order to reach naked corn free from corn-floss?

Clean, clean, clean your corn.

Corn lady

Q: Why didn’t anyone laugh at the gardener’s jokes?

A: Because they were too corny! 

Barry told stories this morning of making creamed corn with his grandparents years ago. A bushel of ears lined the garage floor and Barry and his little brother, Craig, husked and cleaned and made a darn mess while Grandpa knifed those yellow corn cobs, knife penetrating deeply into the rows to scrape off  embedded mini-kernels to release every darn last corn-tooth.

Inside the house, Grandma told stories while she and Mom cooked creamed corn, Smoky Mountain style, freezing it in Tupperware  to enjoy through long winter suppers.

Barry never liked creamed corn much.  He preferred his plain.

OK, corny lady

Q: What do you get when a Corn cob is run over by a truck?

A: “Creamed” corn. 

I remember opening a can of creamed corn from Chandler’s Market and devouring the entire can, slurping up the sweet milky liquid.

I also remember Mom simmering huge pots of corn on the cob.  My brothers and dad ate one, two, maybe three corn per meal!

This was truly late summer, our family eating corn around the kitchen table, kernels sticking in our teeth, our smiles buttery and happy.

Q: What do Corn cobs call their father?

A: “Pop” corn. 

Corn man

Our Little House in the Big Woods family has a corn on the cob tradition, too.

We simmer the late-summer ears in boiling water, 5-10 minutes depending on freshness, and eat them on the deck in hot summer evenings.  When we’re done munching and crunching (some of us cut the kernels off the cob with sharp silver knives before eating) we sling the cobs into the woods–who can throw the farthest?–darn, a dud always lands in the mowed yard–the thrower must retrieve the delinquent ear and re-toss it into the forest.  Marauding raccoons finish them for late-night treats.

Cuttin’ corn

And you?  Do you like corn on the cob in late summer?  What is your favorite way to eat it?  Do you blanch and freeze?

Thank you.  Thus ends a corny tale, slathered in butter and sprinkled liberally with dreams of dinner.

Q: What did the corn say when he got complimented?

A: Aww, shucks! 

Corn ready for the freezer

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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74 Responses to Dreams of husk and silk steamed with corny jokes

  1. Elisa's Spot says:

    I always thought Grandma was magic, at how she got those stuck together rows and bits in the corn that came out of the freezer, tasting and smelling of watermelon seed spitting days next to the spring. I stubbornly retain this belief. I have had to relinquish the one where the poppin fresh dough boy jumps out of the can when you beat it on the counter.

  2. Corn on the cob ! I prefer baked, cooked and excellent.
    thank you for share with us

  3. CMSmith says:

    Thanks for the laughs. I’m all ears.
    My husband has taught me an appreciation for corny jokes.

    I hate creamed corn too.

    We’ve been trying to follow the South Beach diet guidelines where corn is not allowed. You’ve convinced me I need to break the rules, find a farmer’s market along the roadside and get us some ears of corn.

    • Kathy says:

      You’re all ears–I’m laughing, Christine! I am sure the South Beach diet guidelines has an asterisk which says “sweet corn only allowed in late summer”. Do enjoy at least one each!

  4. Susan D. says:

    Beautiful corn pictures and humans! Pictures of kitchens and food prep are comforting to me. You and Barry both look “corntent” … hee-hee. I don’t care for creamed corn either. I’ll eat it, but some veggies and fruits just stand alone in their fine-ness, for me. I prefer what we always called “the typewriter method” of eating corn. Row by row, making a silent “ding” sound when reaching the end of one row, and happily chonking on to the next. Of course, typewriters are obsolete but not in my mind, and I still recall buttery cheeks hosting tiny corn bits, after enjoying the corn on the cob. Thanks for this lovely, fun piece this wonderful morning. Husky hugs to you 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Dear Susan D, I am glad you enjoyed our corny pictures, lol, lol. Thank you for adding the typewriter method of eating corn, ding, ding, ding. I also love your word “chonking”. And the husky hugs are the best!

  5. lisaspiral says:

    Corn on the cob is a great treat. I only eat it fresh, local and in season so when it comes around I really indulge. Freezing it has got to be easier than canning it, and so much tastier too when winter comes along.

    • Kathy says:

      Local corn is the best, Lisa. Even the corn in the grocery stores (which often comes from Wisconsin) can’t hold a candle to corn grown here in our county. Because it’s so fresh…we swoon in corn heaven, don’t we? This is the first time we’ve tried freezing corn.

  6. The sweet corn this year has been the best in a long time. We keep having it once or twice a week. Next week at the NY State Fair I’ll be eating roasted corn a lot. Dipped in melted butter and given a good dose of salt and pepper. Yum-Yum!

  7. Funny you should write about corn today. I just cooked up a batch for the family last night. Daughter & Son-In-Law came to retrieve their Little One (with whom I’d spent a delightful afternoon) and stayed for supper: Roast beef with Orange-Chipotle Glaze, boiled new potatoes and corn-on-the-cob, with Cranberry-Lemon pudding cake. YUM! 🙂

    BTW, I hate creamed corn, too, ever since my mom turned canned cream corn into soup by adding milk. Revolting! (shiver!)

  8. Heather says:

    Loved your corny jokes 🙂
    I am totally spoiled for corn and have a hard time buying any if I don’t know when it was picked. My dad always plants a couple acres (yes, you read that correctly), and I am renowned for having once eaten 14 ears in one go.
    My favorite way is straight off the cob, either blanched or grilled, but my mom’s creamed corn is a close second. She has frozen over 70 quarts of creamed or cut corn this year!

    • Kathy says:

      Yep, a sucker for corny jokes, Heather. tee hee. A couple acres of corn, you say? 14 ears in one go? You just have been awarded the Corny Medal of the Century! I would like to sample a bit of your mom’s creamed corn just to see if it tastes anything like the canned variety I remember.

  9. sybil says:

    How about that — I’m EATING corn on the cob for lunch as I read this post.

    Now my tongue is frantically trying to get the stringy bit out from between my teeth. Sigh …

    • Kathy says:

      Seriously, Sybil? I’ll bet you read my post and then went and dug in your frig and found an ear at the back. Yes? We’re trying to empty our frig, cuz we’re going on an adventure tomorrow and there’s not a cob to be found, and the teeth or squeaky clean. lol!

  10. susanblake says:

    Hi Kathy,
    We have a “Corn Lady” in town with a daily fresh garden haul in her pick up truck, not to mention the Wed. Farmers Market on the highway. It really takes me back to the days on the farm when we picked our dinner every day! Fresh is fantastic! If I had a big freezer here, I’d buy (and freeze) more of it.

    Keep in touch with the possible get-together as things (the calendar) progress.

    • Kathy says:

      That’s the best part of “up north” isn’t it SuZen? Fresh is da best! We’ll know soon if this get-together is gonna work out this summer. Hugs back, Kathy

  11. Oh, I love corn on the cob. Great idea to freeze the deliciousness. Looks like a time-consuming process, however. How many ears did you do and how how long did it take?
    Happy Monday, Kathy.
    Kathy, the other one

    • Kathy says:

      Kath, it surprisingly wasn’t time consuming at all. Not like canning tomatoes or making pickles. We only did nine ears and it took less than a half hour, I suspect. Happy Monday back atcha!

  12. Fresh corn on the cob is my next favorite thing after watermelon. Yours looks so darned good. Scoot over and make way for meeeeeeeeeee.

    • Kathy says:

      Laurie, I am learning to like watermelon after all these years. I never liked those one billion seeds you had to spit everywhere. But now that they have these seedless varieties (which some folks say do not have as much flavor) I’ll join you at the table for a melon feast.

  13. Brenda Hardie says:

    Ahhh, summer isn’t summer without sweet corn on the cob! My Grampa (after his retirement) would work for a local farmer and fill up the back of the pick up and go to all sorts of little out of the way towns (in Wisconsin) and sell the corn and melons too. We always had an abundance and to be honest, we all got sick of the corn and melons (both watermelons and muskmelons) by the end of summer. But oh boy were we ever ready for them by the next summer! My Grama never canned or froze anything because she was crippled and they did not have a big freezer. But my Mom froze corn. I’ve froze corn too…didn’t get enough this year to freeze any because Alex ate it all! 😀 Might have to find a truck somewhere or go back to my sister’s neighbor who has the best locally grown corn. Creamed corn is not my favorite, I prefer my corn slathered with butter and salt and pepper. Sometimes my Grampa would grill or roast the corn over a fire…that was really good too. He was a good cook, used to smoke sausage (which he and another farmer made themselves) and fish (caught from Lake Pepin) which was delicious!! He also made some weird stuff that I never had the taste for, such as blood sausage and headcheese…..no thanks! lol Yep, summer is winding down…school starts in a week, my tomatoes are finally ripening (will be making spaghetti sauce to freeze this week) and the feeling of fall is beginning to creep in every now and then. The seasons come and go so quickly now.
    Enjoy your adventure tomorrow! ♥

    • Kathy says:

      Brenda, I swear I replied to this yesterday. Either that or I replied in my head. Isn’t Lake Pepin where Laura Wilder Ingalls lived? On the Shores of Silver Lake? Loved reading your email….so many delicious late summer stories.

      • Brenda Hardie says:

        Yes, Pepin is Laura’s birthplace…there is a tiny little cabin on a bluff above Lake Pepin as a tribute to her. I’m glad you enjoyed reading my message….it’s fun to reminisce about my Grandparents 🙂

  14. john says:

    Heaven is being at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb where they celebrate the first home preseason football game with corn. Fresh from the fields as many ears as you want. Each one is dunked in a can of hot butter just before they hand it to you. All the hand rails in the stadium are useless by half time, just slick steel.

    • Kathy says:

      It sounds like everyone should have this DeKalb experience–just once. Your last sentence is almost poetic. Your inner writer is coming out! (And it was delightful eating dinner with you and Jenny the other night.)

  15. Joanne says:

    We’re a corny family too Kathy! Even my cat loves corn, would you believe!! I’ve grown corn in my garden, a few years ago now, and it was the best tasting corn I ever had. I must grow some again this summer. I had a lot of success growing the speckled variety which you have pictured here. Happy adventuring! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Joanne, I have never heard of a cat who loved corn! You should take a picture of your kitty nibbling. We haven’t had much luck growing corn, unfortunately. Happy adventuring to you as well!

  16. Elisa's Spot says:

    WAIT!!! Was it YOU with the thing with the Halloween candy corn?!?!?!?!

  17. pearlz says:

    I love corn, just looking at these pics made me hungry. My mum used to grow some in the garden when we were growing up.

  18. ROFLOL (need I say more?)

  19. Corn on the cob — mmmmm, one of the nicest things about summer! We usually take a slice of bread, butter it and roll the cob along the butter until the entire surface of the cob is coated. Add a little salt and pepper and enjoy!

  20. Karma says:

    Thanks for the corny jokes – they gave me a little smirk this morning. Love summer corn, but I’ve never tried blanching and freezing or any type of preserving. Does it really retain some of that lovely summer flavor when you thaw some in the middle of winter? I’ve got a delicious recipe for fresh tasting corn chowder.

    • Kathy says:

      Happy to provide a little smirk, Ms. Karma! This was the first time we’ve tried freezing, so I can’t tell you about how the lovely summer flavor survives the freezer. But figured it had to be better than Green Giant in the grocery store, right? I would love the recipe for that corn chowder!

  21. Carol says:

    One hundred years ago when we lived in New York’s mid-Hudson valley, we grew corn and tomatoes on our 3 acres, and I canned corn and tomatoes until I thought surely my fingers would forever smell of them. But nothing, absolutely nothing, is better than fresh home-grown corn and tomatoes. Unless it’s peas. . .

    • Kathy says:

      One hundred years ago, Carol? Gosh darn, you sound like me now! I am now regretting that we did not plant peas. We Did Not Plant Peas because of a Certain Chipmunk Who Ate All Our Seeds Last Year.

  22. Robin says:

    LOL!! I love the corny jokes. Thank you so much. I needed a good laugh today.

    Your corn looks delicious. I grew up in New Jersey which is known for good corn and famous for their tomatoes. Fresh, buttered corn on the cob and tomato sandwiches always mean summer to me. Yum. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Thrilled to provide some corny jokes, Robin. Since I have an eye infection, I should read these darn jokes again and maybe I would laugh. Perhaps we should have a tomato sandwich tonight. mmmm….that sounds so good!

  23. LindaM says:

    If you’ve got an electric knife and a bundt pan you can quickly cut the kernels off the ear by posting the skinnier end of the ear in the middle funnel of the bundt pan then zap on the electric knife and 1-2-3-4 slices and it’s done – and all the kernels fall into the in the bundt pan!

  24. Delicious pictures, Kathy. I see you are having a busy time but what a joy when Winter months will come and Summer brightens your meals ! Reminds me of the tale of La Fontaine: La Cigale et la Fourmi, The Cicada and the Ant). Corn on the cob starts being popular over here. Our way of eating corn though is in a “Polenta” (ground maize), a basic food that can be prepared in various ways. All delicious for me 🙂

    • Claire says:

      I loved reading this and felt as if I was in your kitchen with you. There is maize grown here but as cattle fodder and as this year the weather has been so awful I can only wonder on the size of he cobs! About 100 years ago I remember eating buttered corn by the side of the road in NYstate,beyond delicious.

      • Kathy says:

        Claire, sorry to hear about your weather, Claire. Laughing at your “100 years ago” reference. Hoping that some day you have another opportunity to munch fresh grown corn. Glad you joined me in the kitchen!

    • Kathy says:

      Isa, thank you for sharing about polenta. We, too, actually buy Polenta at our food co-op and serve it with a rich tomato or curry sauce. Glad you find this delicious! Sometimes I think Europeans appreciate simple ingredients so much more than we have here in the States…but we are learning.

  25. Val says:

    Weird. I posted about ‘corn’ just today! (And idiosyncrasies.)
    I’ve never quite got to grips with ‘grown up’ corn, but what I love is young corn, stir fried with garlic and olive oil (and other veggies). 🙂

  26. Karen says:

    That is a lot of corn cut off the cob. You will be enjoying corn when it is freezing cold and remembering the warmth of summer.

  27. Colleen says:

    We don’t eat it as much any more, only as a treat …..it plays havoc with R’s blood sugar. But when we do it’s roasted or grilled, slathered (or delicately spread, depending on how indulgent we are feeling) with butter, mayonnaise, cojita and/or Parmesan, grilled a bit more and finished with a squeeze of lime and cilantro, maybe a sprinkle of chili powder. Learned from friends who come from Mexico.

    Our grandsons will love your corny jokes, corn on the cob being their favorite food-of-the-moment!

    • Kathy says:

      You know, Colleen, I love the word “slathered” but probably a more accurate description would be “delicately spread”. And quite often it’s vegan butter. I want cojita and I don’t even know what it is! Sorry to hear about R’s blood sugar issues. Do let me know if your grandsons laugh cornily!

  28. Ditto Ditto times 62! If I cannot be at least 65, I shall not make a comment!

    Great photos and funny jokes!

    • Kathy says:

      But you must remember, dear Linda, that at least 31 of the comments are mine. Glad you enjoyed the photos and corny laughs. 🙂 toothy grin…

  29. sonali says:

    Your picture with the corn in your hand reminded me of Julia Child. Have you known of her? She has been my inspirational figure off late.

    • Kathy says:

      Yes! I did my first year-long outdoor commitment at the same time as the movie Julie/Julia (or Julia/Julie?) came out. I watched that movie and cried and cried because I understood what it felt like to write a blog every single day for a year. And Julia Child is a HUGE inspiration!

      • sonali says:

        She is. I am watching the movie Julie & Julia over & over & over. I can relate the story to my will, the characters are so inspiring. Its something. a long story to tell you. Series of episodes that happened, and a colleague at work, thought of sharing that movie with me recently. She thought my life s rolling on the similar coasters. Well. whatever.

  30. Reggie says:

    Your corn looks a little different to ours – you have yellow-and-white corn-pips all mixed up, whereas ours is just yellow.

    I love corn-on-the-cob – my favourite is to par-boil it a bit in some boiling water just to soften it a little, then to wrap it in alu-foil with a pat of butter, and then to put it on the braai or in some hot coals to get some additional flavour and grilling from the fire. I’ve never ‘blanched’ corn when I boil it – I didn’t know one is supposed to do that, so I have learned much from this post!

    Your corny jokes made me laugh, thank you, Kathy. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      We used to have those all-yellow ears of corn when we were kids, too, Reggie. These yellow-and-white ears are probably hybrids or something unspeakable, but, gosh, darn they are very sweet and good. I always love hearing about your braai. It sounds so romantic, so unlike our “grills”. Glad you laughed along in a corny way. 🙂

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