Yes, it’s still winter. Still very snowy. Still very cold. And I’m elbow-deep in corn. Last summer, our corn did fantastic, but we had a bag full of corn that was too ripe for eating, so I decided to just dry it out. I could use it to plant next year’s corn, maybe share or sell some, maybe give the chickens a treat, or maybe grind some for cornmeal. (Can this even be done with dried sweet corn??)
To dry the corn, I simply tied two cobs together at the ends of a piece of yarn so I could hang them up to dry. It’s important to hang the corn in an area that has REALLY GOOD air flow. Corn is a very wet vegetable, so it won’t take long for it to get moldy way before it’s dry. It’s also important to hang the cobs so they aren’t touching each other. Like Tom Good joked with Margo, “Like apples, we musn’t touch or we’ll go bad!” ~snicker~ (I’m a big fan of the Good Neighbors series that aired on BBC in the 70’s)
When you think your corn is dry, let it hang a while longer…just to be sure. Like I said before, corn has a high water content, so if you pack it away before it’s COMPLETELY dry, you’ll have a smelly, moldy bunch of kernels. When you’re doubly sure that it’s completely dry, you can either remove the kernels right then or, like I did, pack away the cobs and leave them on a shelf until you have time to mess with it. You know, like the middle of winter.
To remove the kernels, squeeze and turn the cob in your hands like you would if you were wringing out a washcloth. The kernels should loosen and fall off easily. I was surprised how much corn we got after just a few cobs. In fact, we got a total of 5 pounds of kernels from one plastic grocery bag of corn cobs!
The empty cobs can be thrown into your wood stove, used as fire starters, or if you’re desperate, I’ve heard they make a halfway decent toilet paper substitute. (But I doubt they’re flush-able. You’ve been warned.)
Saving seeds from fruits and vegetables is quite easy. For most veggies, you remove the seeds, spread them in a single layer on waxed paper, and let them dry. I store my seeds in zipper baggies, but you could also put them in jars, vacuum seal them, or use whatever other airtight containers you have on hand. Some veggies require an extra step or two (like corn and tomatoes), but it’s worth it to not have to buy those seeds for next year.
Learn something new. Be inspired. Do something new. Be inspiring to others.