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Making the Most of Summer Corn

I posted a while back about how much my family spent in July on food.

Spoiler alert: it was a lot. Like crazy a lot.

So in August, we’ve been trying to spend less. I’ve tried really hard to be more conscious about not wasting food and eating food that’s in season (and so less expensive.)

Which brings me to corn. It’s super cheap right now and delicious, because it’s corn season. I bought eight ears at Winco for about $3. I decided to get the most possible out of those ears.

I cut the corn off the cobs first and got about a gallon of fresh kernals. Enough for some corn chowder, adding to chili and some corn muffins.

Then I had eight corn cobs left.

Did you know that corn cob jelly is a thing? And that it tastes like summer in a jar. Actually, it tastes a whole lot like honey. I was able to make three pints of corn cob jelly. It was super easy, too.

Corn Cob Jelly

8 corn cobs, kernnels removed
4 cups water
3.5 cups sugar
1.75 ounces (one box) powdered pectin
Yellow food coloring
3 pint-sized canning jars with rings and lids, sterilized
Add the water to the cobs in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes. Strain the liquid through cheesecloth. You should have 3.5 cups. If you don’t, add fresh water to make 3.5 cups.
Bring the corn water to a hard boil. Add the pectin and stir. Add the sugar and stir. Boil for ten minutes. Add 4 to 5 drops of yellow food coloring. Ladle the jelly into sterile jars and close with rings and lids. Either store in the fridge or process in a hot water bath (make sure to Google directions, to make sure you process the jelly properly) to make the jelly shelf stable.

Then, I boiled the corn cobs with a little salt and a bunch of water and made two quarts of corn stock. You don’t even need a recipe for this one. Just toss your cobs in a big pot and cover with water and a good dash of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for an hour. Strain the liquid and use like you’d use any vegetable stock.

And, it turns out, if you let corn cobs dry completely, they make a good fire starter. So, I figured — why not? My eight cobs are on a drying rack.

Here’s my secret weapon for sticking with whatever your thing is.

Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She lives in Reno with her husband, three superstar kids, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s on Twitter @shauntagrimes and is the author of Viral Nation and Rebel Nation and the upcoming novel The Astonishing Maybe. She is the original Ninja Writer.