Before using corn husks in any Mexican cuisine requiring them, such as making tamales, mole sauce or other dishes that require corn husks for wrapping, it is vitally important that they are thoroughly washed and dried prior to use in order to prevent mold, mildew or other foul-tasting mold from spoiling the meal. Doing this will also keep mold, mildew or other undesirable flavors from spoiling its taste in your dish.
Select fresh, mature ears of corn that feature vibrant green husks with tassels that are soft or black in color; these should be avoided to ensure maximum quality and flavor.
Corn husks are an affordable, easily available material perfect for crafting fun projects of all kinds. Use them in art, food and home improvement; wash and dry them to control mildew growth or soften before crafting dolls out of them; typically farmers eat their harvested corn immediately after harvesting it and leave its husks scattered across fields for you to pick up (provided you have permission).
To air-dry husks for craft purposes, spread them out on a flat surface in direct sunlight until they have completely dried out. Be sure to move them frequently to prevent mold or rot from developing, and bring indoors if it rains heavily; when finished drying they should become light brown and brittle after three or more days of exposure.
Oven drying of husks requires care to avoid overheating them. In order to do so safely, first clean and soak the husks, before placing them on a rack in one layer with space between each to promote air circulation and avoid scorched or soggy husks. Also important: checking them frequently so as to avoid burning or becoming soggy husks!
Once your husks have dried completely, they should be stored in either a plastic or glass container to protect from moisture buildup and prevent your husks becoming soft and unusable. Avoid keeping them near refrigerators to avoid sudden moisture changes that might make your husks sticky or crumbly! Keeping them there could lead to them disintegrating over time into an unpleasant mess of mushed-up grains!
Dehydrators offer another method for preserving corn husks. This efficient solution takes only hours to complete. To prepare the husks for dehydration, remove them from the cob and discard silks before peeling. To speed up this process further, microwave cobs for 30 seconds-1 minute prior to peeling for extra drying power. Upon readying them for use again, heat some food-grade dyed water for about 30 minutes and dip the corn husks – this will not only dye them but make them pliable enough for folding flowers or crafts projects!
Many farmers dispose of corn husks after harvesting and the farmer’s market can be an excellent place to collect them for free (with permission, of course). When collecting your free corn husks, ensure they are thoroughly cleaned to remove dirt or debris before sorting through them to look out for any black spots which could indicate mold or rot and selecting ones with firm texture that have not ripped.
Soak your husks for 30 minutes in warm water to soften them up, before shaking off any excess moisture with a towel and patting dry. Next, lay them out to dry on a warm and sunny surface for at least a week – you will know they are finished when pressing against them does not make a dent.
If you need your husks quickly, oven drying may be your answer. This fast method works especially well when preserving delicate foods like fish and vegetables. Preheat the oven to 140 degrees Fahrenheit before laying your husks out on baking trays in one layer for eight hours of drying time, switching over at least halfway through.
Food grade sterilizing solutions can be useful for preserving husks for food use by killing any bacteria that may be on them, while creating fragile, brittle materials suitable for craft projects.
Use of the microwave is another option to dry corn husks quickly. Begin by soaking your husks in warm water for approximately 30 minutes until they become flexible, then gently shake off any excess liquid and pat them dry with a towel. Next, lay them out on a microwave-safe plate and microwave each 30-second interval until your corn husks have dried completely – this method may cause burnt spots or become brittle, making this best used when quickly preserving delicate foods like fish or vegetables before air-drying or dehydrating methods may provide faster turnarounds for other purposes than air-drying or dehydrating methods described above.
Corn husks can be dried for use in cooking, but they also make an integral part of many craft projects. From dolls, flowers and wreaths to dollhouse furniture – corn husks have long been prized for their durability and long shelf lives without molding. Storing them correctly, however, is key – using either an oven or dehydrator makes this easy!
Before drying your husks, the first step should be sorting through them carefully to identify and eliminate any that contain mold, dirt or debris as well as any holes, cracks or tears that exist – you can do this by gently feeling through them with your hand or paper towel, as well as inspecting them closely.
Once this step has been completed, you are ready to start dehydrating your husks. If using an oven to dehydrate them, place them in an even layer and bake at the lowest setting possible for up to eight hours, making sure you check them at least every hour in order to prevent burning.
Alternately, you can also opt to use a dehydrator in order to dry your husks. In this instance, follow the same steps for soaking and air drying the husks prior to placing them in the dehydrator for up to one week, until their surfaces have turned crisp and dried out completely.
Simply leaving them in the sun is one of the easiest and most natural methods of drying husks, though it may take longer. Before placing them out in the sunlight, remove any corn silk, dirt, moldy areas or any rotting or moldy parts before laying them out on hot days until bleached and dried; remembering to bring them indoors at nighttime.
Even without access to an outdoor drying area, corn husks can still be dried indoors using dehydrators or the microwave-drying method. Both require pre-soaking the husks before placing them under short bursts of high heat for drying purposes.
Start by selecting large and undamaged husks – they’re easier to craft with! Additionally, feel the cob through its husk to see if any kernels have fallen away due to gaps. All kernels should remain intact so they can dry and harden fully when dried out later. Finally, cut your husks at their bases before peeling if possible – microwave warming may help soften enough so you can easily pull away.
Soak the husks in warm water to hydrate them and make them more flexible after they have dried. After this quick dip, place them on a towel to dry for approximately four hours before placing back into your bags for storage.
Once the husks have been soaked and dried, you can use them for all sorts of crafts projects. For instance, you could create a traditional corn husk doll by tying two leaves together into legs before adding an accessory such as yarn to tie around its neck for finishing touches.
Husks can also be added to compost bins as an addition of nitrogen-rich material such as grass clippings, leaves, pea pods and fruit waste that quickly decays, as well as helping retain moisture for longer. Husks not only supply essential nitrogen-rich components to your compost but can help slow its decomposition process by providing moisture retention benefits.
Corn husks can also be dried in an oven by washing and separating them, then spreading them in an even layer on baking sheets without overlap. After that, bake at low temperature for 8 hours at low temperature with regular turns so they dry evenly.