Corn Cob Stock

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.

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Corn Cob Stock

INGREDIENTS

  • corn cobs
  • water

METHODS

  1. 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).
  2. 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.

OPTIONS

  1. 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.
  2. I like the smoky flavor of corn cob stock made from grilled corn on the cob. Mmmmmm.
  3. 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.

STORE

Refrigerated, for up to 1 week. Frozen for about 1 year.

SEASON

Summer.

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48 comments

    • Chrismar

      Hello,
      I found your blog when I was on the internet looking for corncob stock. I had just bought 3 dozen to use my food saver for my freezer for the coming winter. I also had used corncob in soup if I was making it when I had fresh corn. As I write this, my 36 cobs are busy making stock for the freezer. It is corn time in my little rural area in the white mountain’s of Arizona. My local dairy sells candy corn. It is simply one of the best things of summer. I am going to make the concentrated one. Thanks for the information. I will be signing up for the news letter as well.

  1. OK, this certainly got my attention. Hadn’t occurred to me at all to make corncob stock, I’d just been chucking the cobs in the compost! I bet this would work well in the slow cooker too, which is where we do most of our stock-making. Maybe 6-8 hours on low would do the trick. Hmmm….

    • I know – it hadn’t occured to me either. All of those wasted corn cobs! But, I will say tihs: the flavor profile is more delicate than a meat stock: the corn flavor is bright, rather than rich, if you know what I mean. Many of the recipes I read warned against overcooking the stock (I’m not sure what happens if you do overcook: perhaps a bit of a musty flavor from the cobs breaking down?), so you might want to try it out on the stovetop the first time around, so you can taste & taste as it goes along, then translate that stovetop time to a slow cooker timeframe.

  2. Laura Z

    What’s with the gratuitous slams on the South? The local food movement in thriving here! I love your blog, and you have right to say whatever you want, but really, there’s just no need to make snarky comments about an entire region of the country. By the way, Emeril is not Southern by any stretch of the imagination. He’s from Massachusets!

  3. Hi Laura,

    Was I slamming the South? If so, I really apologize. It must be the Yankee in me. :) But, I am The Snark, and no region, even (and especially) my own hometown, is safe from my sarcasm-posing-as-wit. And thank you for doing my research for me: I associate Emeril with New Orleans, but I should have known he was a Masshole like myself: we are birds of a feather. ;)

    • Laura Z

      Sorry to be so sensitive! My MIL likes to make lots of little digs about the South. :) Seriously, though, I’m going to have to try this. I love taking a “head to tail” approach w/ vegetables. Have you heard of corn cob jelly? I’ve not tried it, but it’s supposed to be tasty if you make it properly.

  4. Damn, I’ve been tossing the cobs to the chickens all this time. I’m telling you- I treat those chickens too damn well. Can’t wait to hear about your soup. I’m ready for soups. I suck at veggie stock. I am skeeved out by making my own chicken stock. So cob stock it is. And, yes, I’d like a corn cob doll LHOTP style please Pa. =)

  5. It’s Pa *Ingalls*… the Wilders were Laura’s husband Almanzo’s family and not introduced until later in the books. My inner LHOTP fanatic weeps for you :P . But corn stock does sound interesting!

  6. Cyntha

    I found your blog last night during a search for apple preserves (found your jalaeno apple preserves and immediately signed on for your newsletter.)
    I was happy to see an email from you this morning! I’ve added corn cobs to vegetable stock before, but have never tasted the corn flavor over the vegetables, but I’m intrigued by the solo stock.
    What do you make with this stock? I didn’t read anything snarky abut the South in your blog. It sounded more like a comment about Martha Stewart’s snooty attitude.

  7. Just stumbled on your beautiful blog via Food in Jars. I simply love the idea of corn stock and I am so sorry I didn’t think of this myself after freezing kernels of corn off 60 cobs of corn. So sorry that I might just get a few more ears to have at it! I love chicken stock, actually simmering some right now, but I cook for such a wide audience that having this in my freezer would be a great alternative to traditional vegetable stock for my vegan and vegetarian friends. We love Ina’s Corn Chowder around here but making a vegetarian version with vegetable stock just doesn’t work for me. I am going to try making it with your corn stock next time! You have a beautiful blog and I might go after some of your mustard recipes as well! Mustard and cranberry, I am so there!!!

    • Hi Cari, and welcome!

      I have to admit that I’m not great at vegetable stock: I much prefer my chicken stock. But this one: this one I’ve made 3 times in the last two weeks. It’s really worth it.

      Kaela

    • kcp

      I made corn stock this afternoon and then used it in a corn chowder (following Cook’s recipe) and it was lovely. All I added was a little salt–it was quite fresh tasting. I’ve saved some for veg soups in the next week or so.

  8. I do not know what i like better the story or the stock…once again you have given me something to try..so simple and who’d a thought….I was looking at the corn cobs in the mulch pile and a little tear dropped….lol….thanx…lani

  9. Pat

    Hmmmmm I wonder if you could can it to keep on the shelf instead of freezing. I can my chicken stocks and theres no meat in this one. Would it have to be pressure canned and how long? I may have to try it.

  10. Cyntha

    I was so inspired by the apple jalapeño preserves and apple ginger jam that I had to try it today. Since I have this day off from work I could give the to the apple ginger jam. It is fantastic! Bright flavor and just the right sweet flavor. My jalapeños aren’t red yet, so I’ll wait to try the preserves another day.
    Thank you for the link to the spicy corn chower. Yum! When the weekend comes I’m going to make some corn stock and spicy corn chowder.

  11. Wow! Love, love, love this idea! Gonna try to make some as soon as I get back from vacation. I can just imagine it in chowders when the snow flies! Thanks so much!

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  13. This is soooo cool! And I just put a bunch of cobs in my compost yesterday….. I will do this with the next batch from the market – probably next week! Thanks for sharing :)

  14. Pat

    After a marathon couple of days processing about 9 dozen or so ears of corn….at the very end I made the stock. Actually after processing half the corn I tossed the cobs into the blanching water which smelled good too. I decided when I canned the corn to use this stock instead of water. After I cut the corn from the last big batch I tossed those cobs into that same pot and topped it with water to make more stock. In the end I got 5qts. of stock. I posted my marathon days on my blog page but I wanted to thank you for the idea of the stock. Im going to try some in my clam chowder this yr. A friend gave me a wonderful gift of some razor clams. And then when I get time later on, Im going to try to make corncob jelly. I hear that its like manna from heaven.

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  17. Kate H

    Going to make this first thing in the morning with the cobs from the corn I grilled for dinner – I saw this last year but completely forgot about it until I was looking at the extra corn I grilled.

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  19. Laurie Smith

    I’m afraid Emeril is NOT from the south, he just worked in New Orleans. He’s from Fall River, Massachusetts, and is Quebecoise (his father) and New England Portuguese (his mother). Don’t fall for that “southern” nonsense, it’s all a sham.
    That being said, I’m colledcting corn cobs and looking forward to making some stock with them!

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