Corn kernels get all the credit. Let's rewrite that story. Step one: Don't toss those cobs. People, we're making corn stock.
Sweet and golden, corn stock is what happens when cobs start living their best life. After you've scraped the fresh kernels off the cob, here's what you need to do:
1.) Take a bunch of cobs (if you only eat a couple ears of corn at a time, just store them in the freezer in a zip-top plastic bag until you have at least 6 to 8) and toss them into a stockpot. You can certainly add the husks and silks too, but you need to wash them thoroughly and strain before using. If that seems like a pain, don't worry about it and move those along to the compost heap (that is, if you're not into drying the husks for tamales)--your cobs are the stars here.
2.) Cover with cool water by an inch or two, and salt that water well. Add a few sprigs of parsley and/or thyme and whole peppercorns, if you like. But these "extras" are completely optional.
3.) Bring this mixture to a boil Cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour—basically, until your entire kitchen is filled with the fragrance of corning glory.
4.) Use right away or keep a stash (in tightly sealed containers) in the freezer, just as your would with any homemade stock, to use throughout the months ahead—whenever you want a little bit of preserved summer sunshine.
Yes, corn stock is that easy to make, no-waste, and free (once, of course, you buy the corn). As for what do with that concentrated corn water, use it in any recipe that calls for vegetable stock. Here are some suggestions:
- In corn chowder, like this one with salmon and flecks of chives.
- To cook grains, like farro or quinoa, swapping the water for corn stock.
- For extra corny polenta.
- Replace the broth with corn stock in risotto (which would pair especially well with pecans, like in this recipe).
- Corn stock plays especially well with corn tortillas, like in Shredded Chicken Tortilla Soup.
- Or, really, in any soup. Oh, the corny possibilities, the golden opportunity.