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Testing Your Knife Skills against Corn on the Cob

 How do I strip corn kernels off the cob with a knife?

 You essentially have three options for getting corn off the cob with a knife, and you choice depends on what you want to do with the corn.

If you hold the cob straight up over a tray or platter and cut through the kernels about three-quarters from the top of the kernel, you are indicating that you want relatively whole, intact kernels for a salad, a vegetable medley, salsa, that sort of thing. It doesn’t really work that way, of course, because, well, read Tricks for Getting Kernels off the Cob to find out why not.

If you cut through the kernels about halfway to the cob and then use the back of the knife to scrape the rest of the juicy corn into your bowl, you signal your intention to make cream-style corn or corn pudding or something along that line.

Finally, if you carefully hold your very sharp knife parallel to the cob and score the kernels in each row — row by row — then drag the back of the knife down the cob over each row, you are taking a stand for a very creamy mixture of germ and endosperm (a nicer way to say it might be pulp and milk), without the somewhat harder and somewhat less digestible corn skin (or pericarp). In this case, you are intending to make a very silky creamed corn or corn pudding, and you clearly live the lifestyle of the rich and famous.

By the way, some people who use knives to remove the kernels cut the cob in half before beginning to slice. They say a half cob is easier to control than a whole cob, and a straight cut through the middle gives them a more stable flat end to balance on their cutting surface. It also means running your knife blade into the tray or platter about twice as much, unless you're very careful....

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