Though yesterday was the first day of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, I am still (frantically) enjoying sweet summer corn. Looking back on this year’s corn season, I’m pretty pleased with all of my corntent, though slightly annoyed that I didn’t figure out this last little corn hack until September.
I was at my boyfriend’s place, slicing kernels off several ears of corn to make a salad, and (because I was in his kitchen) I was using a much smaller cutting board than I was used to. The kernels were flying around like they usually do — though a clean kitchen towel caught a good bit of them — when it suddenly occurred to me that the best way to keep them off the floor was to cut them closer the cutting board. By “closer,” I mean “in complete contact with.” I laid the cob down horizontally, took a large knife, angled it toward the cutting board, and pushed it down to remove several rows of corn all at once.
It worked just fine.
Though you might get a slightly cleaner cut when you hold the cob perpendicular to the cutting board, you simply cannot prevent the corn from flying every whichaway, and I really detest cleaning up tiny little bits of corn. A towel-lined sheet pan can help (bundt pans have too small of a catch radius, and do not even get me started on this toilet paper roll “hack”), but even then I lose a few. By keeping my cob on the cutting board, I lost none.
You do, however, need a fairly large, sturdy knife, particularly when making that first cut. A blade that is at least as long as your ear of corn is ideal, since you will be slicing towards the board in one motion, rather than moving the knife down the length of the cob. Once you get that first side de-kerneled, it becomes easier to see where you should cut to get the most kernel per slice, but it’s also a lot safer. The cut side lays flat, which is much more stable than a tall, vertically-oriented cob, balanced on its end or in a bundt pan. Being a clumsy coward who loves corn, this is how I’ll be cutting it from now on.