Off the Cob

Our corn is one of the few things that has been growing and producing consistently this season. So much so that it is becoming a regular on the menu. Indeed it needs to be eaten regularly because fresh corn can actually grow past its use-by date and turn into a mass of small beautifully coloured MDF squares. Last year we left our cobs too long on the plant and had to throw out cob after cob that we literally couldn’t get our teeth into.

How do you tell if your corn is ready? As soon as that cornsilk goes a dry and red-brown coloured on top of the cob you should be checking. Peel back the top of the outer leaves of the cob. The silk inside the leaves will still be pale, silky green and still moist (if this is dry then your corn will already be too tough to chew). If the kernels are pale yellow, plump and full (we are growing Golden Bantam so yours may be a slightly different colour), the corn is probably ready. Break one of the kernels with your fingernail is the ‘milk’ that comes out clear = not ready; cloudy = ready; white and thick = past its use-by date.


 If the cobs aren’t ready put the leaves back over the cob and hold them together with a rubber band if necessary. Check every day.

So if your corn goes past its used by day you can give it to your chooks if you have them, or let it dry out and grind for polenta. Last year we saved ours and dried the cobs.

I must say that the grinding part the most difficult to achieve. I had absolutely no success with a small grindstone we bought from one of the local Asian shops. As far as I can tell it has a more promising future as a very quaint garden ornament.


I had some luck with a small electric coffee grinder, and almost equal success with our very heavy mortar and pestle (although with the latter you are in grave danger of losing an eye to flying corn kernels).

I’ve had lots of fun reading reviews of corn grinders on Amazon, apparently they are a ‘must have’ item for survivalists! The consensus seems to be that the best (electric) corn grinder is something called the KoMo Fidibus Classic, a mere snip at $US499, a European model. On the hand-cranked side the Imusa Victoria Traditional Corn Grinder $US36 seems to be the go, but of course its temporarily out of stock. I’ll be waiting to see what the shipping price is because I saw the same item on ebay Australia with the most ludicrous shipping price of +$100!! Feel like you are a target for a rip-off?

Well I’m not that desperate yet – back to the coffee grinder.

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