How To Shuck Corn (The Old School Way)

There are so many methods out there to remove the corn husk and silk but I’m still shucking the tried and true old fashion way. Just my two hands, super simple, no fancy tools or equipment.

It’s summertime, and that means fresh sweet corn season! There are so many ways to eat corn-on-the-cob. But how do you shuck corn? Follow these steps, and you will be on your way to eating delicious home-cooked sweet corn in no time!

Grilled corn, roasted corn, boiled corn, fried corn, no matter what your preferred method, cooking fresh summer corn kernels requires a little knowledge of corn husk removal.

 

There are so many methods for shucking corn, some of which are very intriguing. I saw one in particular where you (1) cut of the pointed tip of the corn (2) microwave for a few seconds (3) the corn ear slides ride out of the husk, silk-free. The video is pretty incredible.

 

Nevertheless, my midwestern roots keep me loyal to the classic method of just pulling the husks. It’s just as easy and microwave-free. You need to follow few tips:

  • Start with the fresh, good quality corn on the cob
  • Set up your shucking area with the right tools in advance
  • Stabilize your grip

Corn Anatomy

During this lesson on how to shuck corn, I’ll be referencing a few standard corn terms that make up the body of corn on the cob.

 

  • Corn Husks, which are the outer layer of (typically green) leaves surrounding the kernels.
  • Corn Silks are a layer below the husk and are the long, thread-like strands of plant fiber.
  • Tassel is a term for the gathering of silk that peeks out of the top of fresh corn ears.
  • The kernels are soft starchy seeds of the corn that are clustered along the cob. They are the portion of the corn that is edible.
  • The cob itself is the dry semihard spine in the center that holds the kernels together.
  • A corn ear is the entire package you take from the plant–the kernels, silks, and husk.

How to pick the freshest corn

One of the most popular summertime side dishes is corn on the cob. But not all cobs are created equal: some will have an abundance of juicy kernels while others might be riddled with dry kernels or lack flavor due to a long growing season. So how do you know what kind to buy?

 

  1. The best way to find fresh corn is to shop for it while it is in season. In the U.S., sweet corn is in season May – September. That’s when you’ll see mounds upon mounds piled in the center of your grocery store’s fresh produce section. Shopping in season always produces the sweetest, juiciest corn.
  2. Another tip is to use visual cues of freshness. Look for husks that are bright green and tightly woven with the silk tassel still attached. You also want to inspect the tassel. The freshest corn will have a light brown, sticky silk. If it’s dry or black, skip it. And don’t forget to use your nose. Check for a fresh corn smell. If it smells musty, pass on that cob.
  3. The final tip is to do a light lift and squeeze test. You want the ear to feel heavy and damp to the touch, which means your corn is still plump and juicy. Otherwise, old corn will feel light and dry.
    So there you have it. The next time you are craving some corn on the cob, just follow these easy steps to make sure you pick out fresh, delicious cobs for your summertime meal!
An ear of corn and corn on the cob on a grill pan

Designate an area to shuck corn

Shucking corn can get a bit messy if you’re not prepared. Keep things simple by selecting an area that is easy to clean, like a kitchen countertop or sink. I like to shuck over the sink because it quickly catches all of the loose tendrils of silk from shucking and allows me to rinse the corn immediately after.

Before you begin, be sure to keep the following tools by your side:

  • Vegetable brush – for lightly brushing the outside of the ear. A brush will pick up any rogue silk hiding between the kernels.
  • Paper towel/disposable wipes – to lay your ears on to dry and wipe down surfaces when done cleaning your ears.
  • Trash can – disposal for all the husks and silk that you will pull off
  • Broom – for sweeping up any loose bits of silk and husk

Watch Video: How To Shuck Corn

How to remove corn husk with your hands

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. The tassel is what gives you the leverage needed for clean removal.

 

Use your fingers to separate the husk and silk into 2-3 sections (kind of like braiding hair). You should clearly see the top couple of rows of corn when you properly separate each section.

STEP 2: Grip the corn and pull the tassel

Once separated, use your dominant hand to grasp one entire section of the tassel and husk. Use your second hand to grip the bottom of the ear of corn firmly.

 

With the hand holding the silk and husk, I slowly pull down one side of the fibers until they snap off. I repeat this step for each section.

STEP 3: Rinse and brush the cob

There will probably be a few rogue silks hanging out between the kernels; it’s inevitable. You can easily remove them by running your cob under water and lightly brushing it with a vegetable brush. If you don’t have a vegetable brush, you can use a kitchen toothbrush or just your hand.

 

Sometimes I even lay my corn on a towel to help them dry; it just depends on my cooking method.

The summertime is the best time for corn. It’s fresh, it’s juicy, and who doesn’t love that? But if you want to get the freshest corn possible, you’ll have to shuck your own! Shucking isn’t as difficult as it seems – in fact, with a bit of preparation and good technique, shucking can be easy peasy lemon squeezy.

 

This ultra-simple method for how to shuck corn requires no fancy gadgets. I hope my additional tips help you enjoy this season with ease and style!

 

Tell me, which way do you like to shuck? Does anyone else have any favorite tricks for making easy work of coring that cob? Let us know in the comments below so we can all learn together.

Happy Shucking!

 

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Welcome! I’m Meiko, a Dallas-based food blogger who loves to share life and culture through food. There are no strangers around these parts only good eats. Let’s get to know each other better!

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Meet Meiko

Welcome! I’m Meiko, a Dallas-based food blogger who loves to share life and culture through food. There are no strangers around these parts only good eats. Let’s get to know each other better!

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