Uses for Corn Cobs

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Uses for Corn Cobs

I’ve been shucking, blanching and freezing lots of corn lately, and that got me thinking about the cobs. I don’t really like to add them to our compost pile, since they take so long to break down, but throwing them away just feels wasteful. Were there other uses for them that I was overlooking? There sure were. Check out all these cool uses for corn cobs that I recently discovered (and can’t wait to try).

Make Corn Stock

Toss your corn cobs in a stock pot with a few spices; cover with water; and boil until the liquid reaches a rich golden color. Remove the cobs, and strain out the spices; then, use the resulting corn stock in any recipe that calls for vegetable broth. Freeze any that you don’t plan to use right away. I like to freeze my broth and stocks in pint and quart containers, so it’s easy to grab the right amount for any recipe.

Make Corn Cob Jelly

Capture that sweet corn flavor in a jelly. Just boil the cobs, add sugar and pectin, and you’ll end up with a gorgeous yellow jelly that’s supposed to taste like honey. Here’s a recipe to try. Imagine what a cool gift this would be.

Smoke Meat

Throw a couple dried corn cobs on the fire the next time you grill out to give meat a sweet, smoky flavor. This same trick would also work well on a camp fire.

Use Them for Fire Starters

Lay your corn cobs out in the sun to dry. Then, use them for fire starters. We go through a lot of fire starters at our cabin, so I’m excited to give this one a try.

Use Them as Pot Scrubbers

Replace store-bought pot scrubbers with dried corn cobs. Just grab a cob anytime you have a pot that needs extra attention, and use it to cut through stuck on food. It won’t damage your pot, and you can throw it away (or compost it) when your done. So much better than hanging on to a stinky sponge.

Make Animal Bedding

Ground up corn cobs are sold as animal bedding because they’re so absorbent. Make your own pet bedding by running cobs through a chipper/shredder. I’ve had a chipper on my wish list for a while now. As soon as I get one, I’m going to try this. It would be great to have free bedding material for the chickens. I’m also betting this would work in place of the saw dust that we use in our compost toilet at our weekend homestead.

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  1. these are great ideas! Thanks. Before the next harvest season I’ll get a shredder and I’ll make bedding material for my ducks. it’s so difficult here to find saw dust.

  2. Hi Erin! Now that you have your leaf shredder, have you tried shredding the cobs? Could this work for chickens?

    1. Good question. The leaf shredder that I bought just does leaves. I’d like to buy a chipper/shredder to mulch up all the limbs that fall out of our trees. That would definitely shred cobs. And yep, you could use those shreds for chicken bedding.

  3. Did you try that jelly? It sure sounds good. I wish I had read this during the summer, that recipe might have tempted me to try making jelly again.

    I like that you included uses that don’t destroy the cobs (the cooking ones) so that the cobs could still be dried and used as fire starters or bedding.

    I have heard that corn cobs used to be used in outhouses before commercially produced toilet paper (and catalogs) became so readily available. So there are two ways you could be using them at the cabin… could… but probably won’t want to!

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