Listen up...I'm going to show you how to use your whole ear.
Your ear of sweet corn, that is.
Let's start with Sweet Corn Relish. Have you ever tried it? I think it's mostly a Southern thing, but I guarantee it tastes pretty darn good right here in the Pacific Northwest.
Sweet Corn Relish is full of crunchy goodness. The freshness of the sweet corn is evident in every tasty bite and its brine is reminiscent of Grandma's old-fashioned Bread & Butter Pickles.
The jar pictured below is Corn Cob Jelly. It's an old-timey thing and it really appeals to the "don't let anything go to waste" side of me. I hadn't even tasted Corn Cob Jelly before I made it and somewhere along the way I decided to give it my own twist, which meant adding sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper. So it's appealing sweet yet intriguingly salty at the same time.
Think Kettle Corn in a jar.
It might sound odd but the Corn Cob Jelly was quite tasty with a big pat of butter on a freshly-baked biscuit.
Here's how it all started:
25 ears of fresh-picked bi-color sweet corn.
And I mean SWEET!
Don't cook the ears of corn, just cut the kernels off the cob.
Warning: this is a fairly messy project. Deep down inside I knew it would be. I'm sure there are easier ways to accomplish this end result, but I seem to forget how messy this job is until I'm right in the middle of it.
By the way, there are all sorts of tips for making this job easier (like using a bundt pan to hold the ear of corn upright for you) but I always seem to end up just keeping it simple when it comes to tools: Knife, cutting board, mop.
On the left, cabbage, bell peppers, onions and celery. On the right? Corn!
Mix up a batch of zesty brine in a big pan.
Add your veggies...all of 'em....and stir, stir, stir.
Crank up the heat until the corn relish mixture boils, then turn it down to a simmer for about 15 minutes and that's it. Ready to eat as a side dish or as a condiment on burgers or hot dogs. It should keep in the fridge for at least 2 weeks...maybe even longer with all that vinegar.
But if you're like me and you made more than you can realistically eat in a week...or a month...put it up in jars & process.
So now what do I do with all the cobs? I could make Corn Cob Pipes or save them for fire starters, but since I'm obviously obsessed with preserving I'm going to turn them into Corn Cob Jelly.
Break up the cobs and boil for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Strain 3 cups of the corn cob liquid into a saucepan. Add pectin* and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve. Boil one minute, then add 3 cups of sugar. Boil hard for one more minute**.
Skim and put in jars. Refrigerate and use within one month, or seal & process and use within one year.
*Pectins vary. There are several brands of boxed pectin available, as well as liquid pectin and Pomona Pectin, which is a 2 step process. Please refer to the particular type of pectin you have on hand, and follow instructions for making jelly with 3 cups of liquid/juice. If using low-sugar or no-sugar pectin, you may of course reduce the amount of sugar used here.
**Boiling time required will vary depending on your type of pectin. This recipe was made using a standard 1.75 ounce box of pectin. Please follow instructions included with your pectin.
Well I didn't quite accomplish my goal of using the entire ear of corn from "tip-to-tail", because I didn't figure out a way to use the husks for anything.
Got any ideas?*
And while you're brainstorming, maybe you have some ideas for the rest of the corn cob cooking liquid.
As I read Robin's story & recipe, I realized how similar it is to my latest version and how her descriptions and mine practically overlapped. In fact, the only slight difference was that she used mustard powder and I used mustard seed, plus I use a tad more vinegar. Other than that...eerily similar, even though there are dozens of different ways to make Sweet Corn Relish.
*Look what I found today:
(Courtesy of Martha Stewart Crafts)