Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Corn Husk Dolls

We're in the thick of corn season here and loving it!

Oh my word... I just heard a flock of geese fly overhead...a sure sign of fall (or spring when they're returning north, but in this instance definitely fall).

But back to the corn.  I didn't grow corn this year.  I remember reading somewhere that by the square foot it really doesn't produce as much food as other plants...and it's sort of a heavy feeder.  I'm not saying I won't do it in the future, but not this year.

There are a number of small farms in our area with stands selling corn and we have made it a goal to buy corn from each of them (or as many as we can) and then rank the corn as we go and come up with a 2012 Corn Award.

So far we've tasted from Spiller Farm and our local natural grocer...will have to follow up with them to confirm which farm the corn was from, and so far it's Spiller Farm. Next up is Wally's and Zach's Farm.  I used to get change from Zach when I sold cheese at the farmer's market years ago so I have a soft spot for him...also his stand looks just lovely filled with fresh cut flowers and all. We've been playing around with making corn husk dolls, something I've always wanted to do ever since I was a child and Miss B had the great idea of presenting the winning farmer with a cornhusk doll.  Too fun!

The dry husks have a wonderful sweet smell to them and I'm thinking of trying to make a couple little baskets.  It is important to dry the husks for a day or two before using them otherwise your doll will turn dark with mold...which happened to some of our earlier dolls (as seen below).  Here's the tutorial we used to make the dolls.

When you're first laying the husks out with the corn silk in the middle I'd recommend laying them so the husks curl away from the silk. Then when you flip the husks outward after tying the first string they will lay a bit more happily/flat.  We also generally stopped after we attached the arms, Miss B wanted them to be wearing gowns of course.  I like them unaddorned, but Miss B chose to embellish with markers.  I think white paint would look pretty neat too...maybe just two white dots for eyes.

Tomatoes are coming in surprisingly steady here.  We are eating them at nearly every meal...not breakfast yet, but we're still fairly early in the season, and I wouldn't say no to a spicy virgin bloody mary some morning.  With the tomatoes that are not perfect I simply trim out the bad spots, chop them up roughly and throw them in a ziplock bag in my freezer.  I will make these into tomato sauce later when it is cool, say late September or even October or November.  The scent of garlic and oregano and basil will fill my kitchen and these tomatoes will release their juice faster (because their cells burst when they went through the freezing process).  The heat from my stove will warm my home a bit which will be welcome then.  When the geese really have flown south.  So I feel like one smart cookie as I chop and freeze, chop and freeze during these hot days.

On another but similar topic here is a phenomenal post from Northwest Edible Life on making jam without pectin.  Makes me want to make more jam today!


  1. I intended to make a corn husk doll with our corn this year, but just didn't get around to it. I'll have to tuck this post away to remind me next year!

  2. Courtney, it's funny, I've wanted to do this for years and years. A treat to finally get around to it. The dried husks are so fragrant...and I suspect as the years pass we'll get even better at it. Some of the ones I've seen are downright intricate.

  3. we've not started our corn season yet - and yet there is corn in the greengrocer and what dreadfully sad, feeble looking corn it is! But I LOVE corn on the cob - dripping with butter and a wee bit of salt - and will certainly try making corn dollies with Abby. Have you found a pattern for the corn husk basket - that sounds good too.

  4. Lily, I know what you mean by the off season corn. Sad and feeble indeed! Here are directions for a corn husk bottle which I think I could easily adjust to make a simple basket like I have in mind. Please show a pic of the dolls you and Abby make. Would love to see them!