Unitasker Wednesday: Corn Desilker

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

I should start this post off by reminding everyone that I grew up in Kansas in a corn family. Most of our family farmland produced field corn (like what is used in the corn flakes you may have had for breakfast) but a few acres each year went to sweet corn for all the aunts, uncles, cousins, and neighbors to eat straight from the ear after harvest. (The families also produce a little alfalfa, soybeans, barley, and sorghum, but those crops have no bearing on this post.)

Okay, back to corn … so, in all of my years of shucking, cooking, and eating a ridiculous amount of corn, I have never once thought I needed a device to remove the silk from an ear. However, someone out there apparently thinks I am wrong and believes a special tool is necessary for doing a very simple task that your hands can do. Exhibit A: The Corn Desilker

Seeing as a few strands of corn silks are not dangerous to consume and almost always lodge themselves loose during the cooking process, I’m not especially clear on why removing all of them is an important task in the first place. But, if you are someone who hates corn silks, all you have to do is use your hands to remove them easily (or a rubberband) instead of this unitasker.

Remove the husk and as much of the silk as you can with the husk. Holding the base of an ear in your dominant hand, twist the ear while you rub it with your non-dominant hand. The rest of the silk will come off in a matter of seconds and you can immediately dispose of it.

If simply using your hands doesn’t seem to work for you, all you need is a multitasking rubberband to thread the silks off the ear.

And, now I’m craving a big ear of grilled sweet corn. Yum.

16 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: Corn Desilker”

  1. posted by Dani on

    Ugh, my MIL is the worst corn de-silker ever. She leaves huge hanks of corn silk on the ears, to the point where it’s disgusting. I grew up with grandparents who grew corn, and would have been shamed mercilessly if I peeled corn like she does. Now I forbid her to peel the corn, and do it myself. Problem solved.

  2. posted by Another Deb on

    Thanks for the de-silking tip about the rubber band. I have tried various towel, brushing, rinsing and shucking methods for silks and find them more work for less result. I’ll buy some corn today and try it out!

  3. posted by Janemm6 on

    And who really wants to remove the silk from the circular brush? That would be worse than cleaning the corn!

  4. posted by shris on

    You know, for the bits of silk that are more difficult to remove, I use my mushroom brush, thus making it a multi-tasker. It is gentle enough not to harm the kernels, and flexible enough to get into the gaps. My potato brush is too stiff, so that’s reserved for root veggies, apples, and other hardy stuff.

    The video of the rubber band really didn’t impress me much, but I might try it anyway and see if it works better than my mushroom brush.

    I think the de-silker might be useful if you grow a lot of corn and freeze it or can it off the cob…since it would likely get the silk off with fewer passes. Having frozen my backyard corn before, it *is* difficult to get the silk out of some ears, and we ended up with a lot of short pieces in the container. *shrug* I still wouldn’t buy one of these doodads, though. My volume just isn’t high enough to care. 🙂


  5. posted by Amanda on

    Shucking and pulling the silk off ears of the corn is the most fun part about it! That’s the whole point in buying whole ears of corn, for the experience of it! If pulling silk off ears of corn annoys you enough to buy a plastic piece of junk to do it for you, you could just buy ears of corn that are pre-shucked and desilked!

  6. posted by Celeste on

    I would repurpose a nylon marinade brush for this before I would buy this gadget. I like the mushroom brush idea but wonder if it would be a little soft; it’s certainly worth a try, though.

  7. posted by jesinalbuquerque on

    Everyone who enjoys the unitaskers (I certainly do) should watch Stephen Colbert’s hilarious routine on plastic corn-on-the-cob storage devices. It was Monday, 6/11,and you can see it on Hulu.com. (I have no connection with Hulu or with Stephen (sadly).

  8. posted by DavidCaolo on

    I like this one.

  9. posted by Kat on

    I am personally fond of the word “desilker” – most unitaskers have fascinating names. Of course my young children still call it “hair” and they make excellent hair pullers!

  10. posted by Sean Hazlett on

    I have seen other thoughts on using a Rubber Band to pull off the strands. Just place between two fingers, and then rub it up and down the corn.

  11. posted by Lorii Abela on

    Thanks for the tip on de-silking corn using a rubber band.

  12. posted by Lee on

    When I started reading, I thought I’d like to have one, unitasker or not. I hate getting the strands off and hate eating the corn with a few strands left on. Thanks for the alternative ideas.

  13. posted by Gypsy packer on

    A cuticle brush works well for final desilking on large quantities of corn. Shame on ya, Erin. You’ve made me crave fresh corn, raw off the ear, for breakfast and corn just isn’t ready yet.

  14. posted by s on

    This may sound crazy, but I have microwaved corn, IN the husk, and then removed the husk, silk an all, with success. This is a video, but there’s no sales push for anything.


    I’m excited to find this tip–I didn’t like shucking corn when I was a kid and that’s kind of kept me away from it for years…which is a shame, since I like corn!

  15. posted by D on

    My brain skipped at “lodge themselves loose” and hasn’t been able to work itself loose of that odd phrase.

  16. posted by Erin Doland on

    @D–I had no idea until after I wrote this post that “lodge themselves loose” was a regional phrase. It’s definitely something that seems so normal to me that it didn’t even cross my mind that it wasn’t a widely-used idiomatic phrase. Cracks me up when I learn these things about myself. Where I’m from, the phrase means to work yourself out of a tight situation.

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