About four months ago, we received a Corn Stripper from Crisp, the manufacturer, and it seemed like it could be a very helpful kitchen aid. We just had to wait for the corn season to begin so we could test drive it, and now with beautiful ears all over the Oak Park Farmers' Market, we put the Corn Stripper to use.
At this time of year, we always eat a lot of corn off the cob, and we usually freeze quite a bit as well. Our approach to freezing is to cut fresh kernels off the ear with a sharp knife and then vacuum seal and freeze them, to be enjoyed in the dead of winter. And in the dead of winter, farmers' market corn is like a bite of warmth.
The Corn Stripper looks a little like a Gillette Trac II, and the idea is that you "shave" the kernels off with a blade that's slightly curved to match the contours of the cob. This approach seemed attractive in that cutting kernels off with a knife is kind of sloppy. The Corn Stripper also comes with a brush on one side to "de-silk" the cob.
The Corn Stripper works best if you lay the ear flat on the table and bear down hard (much harder than you would with a razor on your face) to remove the kernels all the way down to the cob. If you just let the blade float across the kernels, you'll miss about half of each edible kernel.
If you're wary of knives, or if your older-yet-not-quite-knife-savvy children are helping you de-kernel the corn, the Corn Stripper makes sense. The Corn Stripper's blade is sharp, and it can cut, but it's not as dangerous as the big, always very sharp chef's knife that we've used to cut corn off the cob.
For those of us who've used knives for maybe a half-century or so, it's easier for us to control the knife blade and to cut a relatively consistent slice down the rows of kernels. It's possible that, with time, we could become as proficient with the Corn Stripper as we are with the knife.
The "de-silker," though it does work, is not as efficient as two working hands (however, again, your mileage may vary: if you have arthritis in your hands, this brush could come in very handy).
So in the right hands, the Corn Stripper seems like it would have value, and we're going to continue using it to see if repeated efforts enable us to get as clean a cut off the cob with the Corn Stripper as we get with a good sharp chef's knife.
Of course, if my grandson or 93-year-old mother come to visit us again during corn season, and if either of them wants to help us clean the kernels off the cob, they might do a better job with the Corn Stripper than with our chef's knife – and they'd likely do much less damage to their hands.
Answer Book 2018
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