It was my friend Kelly who first mentioned corn cob stock to me; at the time, I was simultaneously impressed by the brilliance of the idea and skeptical that I would actually like the taste. Don’t get me wrong: I love corn. Corn on the cob: I mean, who doesn’t love it? But corn cobs themselves? Seem like something that people in the South make pipes out of, or what Pa Ingalls made a doll of for Half-Pint. Not stuff that you eat.
But what do I know? Kel mentioned it to me last summer, and while I didn’t make it happen then, my brain filed it away. And then, not too long ago, I saw this recipe for tortilla soup from Michael Rhulman, and was reminded: hmmm. Corn cob stock. I’ve been bringing home ears of corn by the dozen: grilling some, eating some, tucking some away in the freezer or in salsa. And then I Googled, and even Martha has made corn cob stock (although she calls it “corn stock,” probably because “corn cob stock” sounded too LHOTP to her, too. See, I’m not the only one). And, she tosses it in with an Emeril recipe, like “I’m not the one telling you to make stock out of corn cobs: blame the BAM! guy. He’s from the South, after all.“
But, really: we shouldn’t have all this angst. Because I’m here to tell you, my friends: corn cob stock is good. Really, really good. Even though I do make a vegetable stock from time to time, I’m pretty much a chicken stock snob: I like the richness, the saltiness, the umami. Vegetable stock, roasted or not, just doesn’t have it going on. But corn stock? It’s not trying to be chicken stock, or beef stock, or anything but pure, unadulterated, summer-lovin’ corn. Sweet, sweet corn flavor, in liquid form. And, in a too-good-to-be-true, recession-special twist? It’s FREE. Corn cobs + water = delicious soup stock, all winter long. I’m telling you people: it doesn’t get much better than this.
Corn Cob Stock
- corn cobs
- Place corn cobs in a large stockpot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until stock tastes nicely corny, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, (can be longer depending on how much stock you are making).
- Remove cobs, shaking off excess liquid, and compost or discard. If you wish, continue to simmer the stock, uncovered, for a concentrated stock (saves freezer space; simply add water to use).
A dozen corn cobs yields about 10 pints of corn cob stock, 5 pints of concentrated stock.
- There are many recipes out there: much like chicken stock, people add vegetable scraps, aromatics, all sorts of things. I think corn cobs all on their own have a delightful, fresh, summery corn flavor, and need no enhancement.
- I like the smoky flavor of corn cob stock made from grilled corn on the cob. Mmmmmm.
- If you tend to enjoy corn on the cob one or two ears at a time, simply keep the spend cobs in a Ziploc in the freezer until you have enough for a batch of stock.
Refrigerated, for up to 1 week. Frozen for about 1 year.