4 Ways to Remove the Silk from Corn

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Love corn but hate those pesky strings? Here's how to remove the silk from corn on the cob.

Labeled Silk Removal MethodsTMB Studio

Fresh corn is one of the heroes of summertime barbecues. Sure, it’s possible to find shucked corn on the cob year-round in styrofoam containers in the produce aisle, but sweet corn fresh from the farm tastes so much (ahem) sweeter. The only catch are those pesky strands between the husk and the kernels, formally known as the silk. If you don’t remove them before cooking, you’ll end up with a hair-like strand between your teeth. Yuck!

But how to remove the silk from corn? No need to stand over the trash can, obsessively removing individual strands. Here are four easier methods.

How to Remove Silk from Corn

Trick #1: Brush under running water

Four Methods Of Removing Silk From Corn On The CobTMB Studio

Your produce brush is a handy tool for scrubbing corn silk off the cobs. After shucking the corn, gently brush each ear. The silks will come right off.

Trick #2: Use a gloved hand

Four Methods Of Removing Silk From Corn On The CobTMB Studio

If you’re like us and always have disposable gloves on hand for prepping chilies or handling raw chicken, this is a great option. Remove the husks from the corn and rub the cob using a gloved hand. The friction between the glove and the corn kernels will help whisk away the silk. After rubbing, rinse the corn under cold water to remove any small pieces of silk still clinging to it.

Trick #3: Rub with shelf liner

Four Methods Of Removing Silk From Corn On The CobTMB Studio

Shelf liner is amazingly versatile. Use it as intended to keep plates and glassware from shifting around in cupboards, or cut a square for under your cutting board to keep it from sliding as you slice. You can also use it to remove excess silk from corn! Rub a small square against shucked corn and the grippy exterior will attract leftover silk like a magnet.

Trick #4: Boil or microwave whole

Four Methods Of Removing Silk From Corn On The CobTMB Studio

Instead of peeling corn, cook it whole and let the heat do the work for you. Cook the corn in boiling water for 5 to 8 minutes, or  cook it in the microwave on high for 8 minutes. Then, trim off the stem ends of the cob. Be very careful because the corn will be hot! Hold the corn with the cut end down and remove the husk. It will come off clean with almost all the silk strands clinging to the husk instead of the corn kernels. Magic.

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Lindsay D. Mattison
After years of working in professional kitchens, Lindsay traded her knives in for the pen. While she spends most of her time writing these days, she still exercises her culinary muscles on the regular, taking any opportunity to turn local, seasonal ingredients into beautiful meals for her family.