Corn is great. Cutting it off the cob is not. Can a corn stripper make the process easier, neater, and safer?
Published Mar. 15, 2021. Appears in Cook's Country TV Season 15: Midwestern Favorites
Cutting corn off the cob can be a pain. The process is often messy, scattering kernels everywhere but the bowl or cutting board you’ve placed under the corn. And it’s prone to error: Cut too deep and get some of the hard, fibrous material that connects the kernels to the cob, or cut too shallow and lose out on some of that sweet, sweet corn. It can also be slightly dangerous—many of us worry about our knives slipping as they slice through the juicy corn. Enter corn strippers. These specialized gadgets promise to make the whole process of cutting both raw and cooked corn off the cob easier, safer, and more foolproof than using a knife. Since we last tested corn strippers, our former favorite was discontinued, so it seemed like a good time to take a new look at these gadgets. So we bought seven models, priced from about $7.50 to about $24.00, and used them to shear off kernels from ear upon ear of both cooked and raw corn.
Technically speaking, almost all the gadgets were capable of cutting corn off the cob. Only one failed outright. Built like a long, narrow wooden mandoline, it mashed the corn instead of slicing it off, no matter what we did to adjust the positions of the blade and corn. This corn mandoline was also the only gadget that truly made us fear for our fingers. Every time an ear of corn hit the blade, it stopped short and refused to go further unless we pushed very hard. Pushing hard wasn’t a good idea: With no guard with which to hold the corn, there was a distinct risk that our fingers would slide full force into the blade if we did so. We gave up trying to use this device after three attempts.
The rest of the strippers were safer to use, and most did in fact remove corn kernels from the cob. Alas, few did so well. Four of the strippers resembled vegetable peelers with curved blades. In theory, they made sense: Run the blade down the side of the cob and off come the kernels. The blades themselves were all sharp and cut easily, but the results were uneven; it was hard to gauge just how deeply to dig in with the blade, so some kernels were sliced off with the hard pith attached, and others were left half on the cob, requiring an extra pass to slice off the rest.
Another model, consisting of a circular blade enclosed by a ring of plastic, showed more promise. We simply placed the end of an ear of corn into the blade and then rotated the corn with one hand and the ring with another to cut off the kernels. We had to concentrate to keep the ring perfectly centered around the core of the cob, or else we cut unevenly or too deep, leaving pith on the kernels. We got decent results...
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Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.