How to Shuck Corn (Without Using Your Microwave)

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There is a very clever trick to shucking corn using the microwave, whereby the ears are microwaved for a short period of time and then the outer layers of husks and silk are easily removed. But what if you dont want to or cant use a microwave?

In this article, well look at a few reasons not to use a microwave for completing this task. Then, well provide some tips for other methods for shucking corn.

Why You Might Not Want to Use a Microwave

How to Shuck Corn (Without Using Your Microwave)

The most obvious answer why you wouldnt use a microwave to shuck corn is because one is not available to you. There are a lot of situations in which you wont have access to a microwave.

The most noticeable is while camping. Corn is such a quintessential summer food that it is awesome to enjoy it around your campsite.

What is more, corn is absolutely delicious when cooked over an open flame, but no microwave in sight.

Similarly, you might be enjoying time outdoors at home and not want to leave your outdoor barbecue to microwave ear after ear of corn.

Another reason why you may not want to use a microwave is that the corn will start to cook in the microwave. Lets face it; microwave food heats differently and tastes somewhat different too.

Corn on the cob is sweet and juicy, and the microwave can dry it out by cooking the outside quicker than the inside. Who wants to take that chance?

Whatever your reason, there are plenty of ways to shuck corn without a microwave. Let’s have a look at some of them now.

First Things First: Pick Good Ears

How to Shuck Corn (Without Using Your Microwave)

The first step to easily shucking corn without a microwave begins at the market. You want to buy fresh, healthy corn that will be easy to shuck.

How do you recognize good corn? First, inspect the husks:

  • Look for ends of husks that appear as if they were recently cut.
  • The husks should be green; the brighter, the better.
  • The tassels (the pieces of hair sticking out of the top) should be damp or sticky, and brown. Avoid any that are black or dry.

Next, peel the husks back a bit from the top to see some of the kernels inside. They should be bright in color (white is fine) and plump; if any of them appear shriveled or rough, it is probably an older ear.

Alternatively, if you shop at a farmers market, you can simply ask the vendor. They are more likely to have fresh corn anyway; plus, youll be supporting a local business so its win-win!

The Old-Fashioned Way to Shuck Corn: Patience and Attention to Detail

You dont need anything fancy to shuck corn, just your hands. But there are still specific methods that you can follow to make the job easier.

While you can peel off the husks piece by piece, it makes more sense to use some elbow grease and get as much of it off at a time as possible. To do this, grip the ear of corn at the top and, using your fingers, separate all of the husk and silk in two pieces, one in each of your hands.

Pull hard on one side, peeling slowly, then leave the husks attached at the root and peel the other side. If peeling proves especially difficult, move back to the top and section off three or as many as four sections of husk, and then peel using the same method.

Now you should have an ear of corn with most of the husks and silk hanging off the root.

To remove the root, firmly grip it in your fist and pull toward the right or left of the ear until it snaps off. Alternatively, you can use a large, sharp knife to cut it off with caution.

You can also leave the root attached to be used as a handle when cooking and eating. Just remove the husks and silk by pulling them off.

Remove the Hair with a Vegetable Brush

Undoubtedly, some of the hairs or silk remain on the ear of corn, no matter how carefully you did the method above. You can diligently remove these by hand, and it shouldnt take too long.

Alternatively, you can use an inexpensive and simple tool to remove stray silk from your corn: a vegetable brush. You can even get a corn-specific vegetable brush.

Grip the corn in one hand by the root or at the bottom of the ear, and the brush. Gently brush the corn from top to bottom (using your hand) to remove stray silk.

Whats more, your vegetable brush doesnt have to just sit in your drawer waiting for the next time that you shuck corn. It is also useful for cleaning mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables.

Hint: Do it Outside

Heres a hint to help reduce the mess (particularly if you have little helpers): shuck the corn outside. Since corn is natural, its fine if some of the husks or hairs blow away.

Alternatively, some grocery stores have bins set up next to their corn displays where you can shuck it right there. This is beneficial because it not only avoids the mess but it also helps you pick the best ears possible, and you can always finish the job at home with a vegetable brush.

What to Do with Your Cobs

Youve shucked, cooked, and, most importantly, enjoyed your corn. What can you do with the cobs that are left besides just throwing them away?

Corn cobs can be composted, so if you or a neighbor or friend have a compost pile, use that. They can be thrown in the wild as well since they will decompose.

You can boil them down to make corn broth to be used for delicious chowder, or use them instead of wood chips to smoke meat.

Corn cobs burn well so if youre camping or if you have a fire pit in your yard, throw them on.

Most importantly, enjoy your thoroughly shucked, fresh corn!


How to cook corn on the cob without a microwave?

Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob
Preheat oven to 375ºF (191ºC).
Peel the corn.
Place each ear of corn on a piece of aluminum foil.
Place butter in the center, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Tightly wrap and roast directly on the oven rack, butter side up.
Cook until kernels are tender, about 30 minutes.

What is the best tool to remove corn silk?

Corn Silk Removal Method: Toothbrush

About This Method: A video from the Martha Stewart test kitchen shows how you can use a stiff-bristled brush — a vegetable brush or clean toothbrush — on a shucked ear of corn to dislodge and remove the silk.

How do you shuck corn the old fashioned way?

Shucking corn is easy; it just requires a little technique.

Get through your first couple of ears, and you will be speed-shucking in no time.
STEP 1: Separate the tassel and husks. When shucking corn by hand, the tassel must still be intact.
STEP 2: Grip the corn and pull the tassel.
STEP 3: Rinse and brush the cob.

How do you shuck corn without cooking it?

But now we’ve discovered a better way: A short stint in the microwave and a quick shake are all it takes to cleanly slide off the corn husk and silk. The cob will heat up a bit, but the kernels won’t be cooked.

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