What Kids Learn
Removing the outer covering of corn on the cob is called shucking.
Nine thousand years ago, the length of an ear of corn was only a few inches.
To give corn a bit of a fall feel, try roasting instead of boiling it.
Even kids who hate vegetables (including all my kids when they were little) love corn. I was born (and partially raised) in the Midwest, where corn was a staple on our dinner table. When corn’s in season, I still buy armloads at the local farmer’s market and tote it home to make it into various dishes. Shucking corn is one of the first jobs that my own budding chefs felt confident about undertaking. Who doesn’t love the thrill of ripping off the husks and corn silk to get a peek at the bright yellow kernels underneath?
My kids love shucking corn and helping make this delicious corn salad. It’s great with burgers, barbecued chicken, or flank steak. You could roast the corn if you like: Just preheat the oven to 400 degrees and let the kids help you peel back the corn husks and remove the silk. Then replace the husks so that the kernels are nearly covered. Roast for about 20 minutes, until the kernels begin to brown and are slightly charred. Prepared like this, corn takes on a lovely color, and is at its best topped with salt, pepper, and butter.
What You’ll Need
- 6 ears of corn
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 10 large fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Pinch of ground black pepper
What to Do
- Show your helper how to shuck the corn. (To keep mess at a minimum, have a big paper bag handy so he can discard the husks and silk.)Teachable Moment: A Maize-ing Corn Facts
- Corn today doesn’t bear much of a family resemblance to its ancient ancestors. Around the time corn was domesticated, about 9,000 years ago, an entire ear of corn might only be a few inches long.
- Corn is actually a member of the same plant family as the grass that grows on your lawn!
- The first people to grow corn for food were the people of ancient Mexico. Over the next few thousand years, corn farming spread to North America.Now corn is almost everywhere! Foods and ingredients made from corn make up nearly 3,000 products you might find in the average supermarket, including diapers, toothpaste, and gum!
- Now corn is almost everywhere! Foods and ingredients made from corn make up nearly 3,000 products you might find in the average supermarket, including diapers, toothpaste, and gum!
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place the shucked ears of corn into the water, bring the water to a boil again, and turn off the heat. Let the corn sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then drain.
- Slice the cherry tomatoes in half. If your child has good knife skills, she can assist or do this on her own. Younger helpers can rip the basil leaves into little pieces. Set tomatoes and basil aside.Teachable Moment: A Totally Random Theory About Your Corn-on-the-Cob Eating Style
- Like to eat corn on the cob neatly, row by row, from one end to another? Your food style may be organized and methodical!
- Prefer starting at the edges of the cob first and work your way to the center? You may be a creative or artistic person.
- Of course, there are plenty of other options. You might like to be unique—taking little bites all over, in no particular order.
- But if none of the above sound like you, feel free to try something else entirely! Make a design as you go, or have an adult shave the kernels off and enjoy your corn with a for
- When the corn is cool enough to handle, use a sharp serrated knife to remove the kernels from the cobs, and place in a medium bowl. Have your junior chef add the tomatoes; help you measure and add the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper; stir the mixture gently with a large spoon; sprinkle the torn basil into the corn salad; and toss again. This is delicious to eat as is, or you can refrigerate it for a couple of hours.