The corn is plentiful in New England late summer early fall, as are the barbecues, friendly gatherings, and warm summer nights. It’s almost as if corn and gatherings go hand in hand. Sometimes you even need to construct a small army just to prepare it! The kids love to get involved with shucking the corn, which tends to get everywhere, but this year I’ll be keeping close watch of the fine silky threads and collecting what I can. The truth is, corn silk is edible and tasty!
The silk can be eaten fresh on salads or dried for future use. Lately I’ve been drying, freezing, and preserving most of my herbs and plants, mainly because winter is long here and I want to enjoy bits of summer throughout it. With that said, I plan on drying most of what I collect.
To enjoy fresh, just chop it up into small pieces, because I imagine eating long strands of silk is difficult (*gag*), and sprinkle on salad or whatever you’d like.
To enjoy dried, simply lay out the strands so there are no clumps and leave it out in a cool, dry place. I have a special drying rack (a screen door) in my basement that works great. After a few days it should feel crispy and can be stored in a glass container or paper bag for 1 year. It can then be used as a tea when needed!
Corn Silk Tea
¼ cup fresh or 1 T dried corn silk
1 cup water
Start by bringing water to a boil
Place corn silk in a teapot
Pour boiling water over corn silk, cover, and steep for 15-20 minutes
Strain and enjoy your tea
Add lemon and honey if desired
So corn silk (stigmata maydis) in latin means “Mother’s Hair”, and is made up of silk strands, hairs, or stigmas, which are found on an ear of corn. The stigmas serve a specific purpose and that is to collect pollen and feed each individual seed of the corn. When the seed is fertilized it turns into a delicious, plump corn kernel. So cool!
The silk is rich in vitamins such as B6, C, E, and K and elements such as potassium, selenium, zinc, and iron. If you have no ailments you’re trying to cure, by all means enjoy the golden threads for their nutritional value!
Some additional health benefits include:
- Healing urinary infections
- Urinary disorders (bedwetting/incontinence)
- Diuretic action to reduce water retention and expel toxinsThe diuretic action can help detoxify the kidneys and liver, as well as balancing hormone production in the body soothing premenstrual symptoms
- DigestionThe tea helps soothe inflamed tissues and aids in expelling unwanted waste buildup
Corn silk tea has been around for thousands of years, so take time to save some silk, and enjoy a warm cup of tea! Your body will thank you.