Corn tassles

Corn-on-the-cob was 25 cents an ear last week, so guess what I’m eating a lot of now.

It occurs to me to wonder: Does every kernel (or nearly so) have its own tassel?

BTW: Corn kernels sure can explode with a loud BANG when nuked in a microwave! I had the ear covered, and even so I now have corn kernel shrapnel all over the inside of the oven! I may have discovered a new weapon of mass destruction!


The individual strand of tassel silk is what the pollen/sperm travels down to fertilize the kernel, which prompts it to develop into what we eat.

Yesterday, Senegoid learned every kernel has its own tassel.

Today, I learned some people microwave corn.

Well all learn sumpin’ new every day.

We microwave corn on the cob.

Pull the husk and silks, wash, wrap in Saran wrap. Place in microwave and give it about 2 minutes per ear depending on size.

Been doing it that way for over 20 years and it’s great.

There are only two of us, but if you needed a dozen ears at once there are better way to cook it.

In fact, each kernel is a separate fruit - “enlarged ovary w/ all attached parts.” You know - like a tomato! :smiley:

I’ve been using the microwave to cook corn for a few years now. It’s so much easier and quicker. There are only 2 of us also, so it doesn’t make sense to boil a giant pot of water for a few ears of corn. Grilling it seems like too much work.

I wrap each ear in a damp paper towel, put them on a plate and microwave for 5 minutes. They come out great every time and I have never had any explosions.

I’ve seen that some microwave them in the husk and supposedly all the silks fall right off as the husk is removed. Never tried it as my wife likes to inspect the complete ear for any damage or bad spots.

I’ve always nuked them in their husks. Works as good as plastic wrap or paper towels; just make sure you have a clean pair of dish gloves so you don’t burn you’re hands while shucking them.

I was wondering if you couldn’t just microwave it in the husk, instead of replacing the husk with a damp towel or saran wrap. And yes, the silks fall off cooked corn pretty easily.

I’ve done that a few times. Yes, the husk and silk just come right off without much of a struggle. OTOH, you’re shucking corn that’s really, really hot.

We just microwave it in the husk, after cutting off the other end to expose the root end of the ear. Then when it’s done, we don oven mitts, squeeze the ear from the tassel end, and the ear pops out, sans the silks, ready to eat!

Not only that, but there are always an even number of rows of kernels, I think it is supposed to be 16.

Yes, this is a compound flower/compound fruit, much like the grains on a wheat stalk, or a sunflower, or a daisy. it is actually a cluster of multiple individual flowers that get pollinated and grow into individual kernels, much like peas in a pod. Like giraffes or anteaters, Mother Nature takes a basic shape and molds it to fantastical degrees. Each strand is the stamen that allows the pollen to fertilize that kernel.

Fun fact - the cultivated Indian Corn is so different from the original plant thanks to cultivation and selection that it cannot survive without human help. From what i’ve read, there are also no surviving examples of the original plant it was bred from.

Maize/corn is so highly modified from its ancestors that it has been controversial exactly how it originated. However, ancestral species known as teosinte still grow in the wild. I think the most current information indicates it was derived from the subspecies Zea mays parviglumis by artificial selection and possibly hybridization with other Zea species.

Yeah I remember it the same way - the husk prevents the kernels from escaping before they rot. Very poor for natural selection.

Shh - no one tell the OP about strawberries! :smiley:

How long would it take to re-create modern maize from the ancestral original?

(Since corn is an annual, I assume that 1 year = 1 generation.)

Does corn have any substantial supply of vitamins or minerals? If so, does boiling it tend to wash out some, as is often said about boiling other veggies?

I cook other kinds of vegs in the microwave with just minimal water for this reason, as commonly suggested. I assume the same advice holds for corn? Is that so?

Since we’re in GQ and there’s some misuse, I’ll note the corn terminology:

The stuff on the ear of the corn is the silk.

The pollen-releasing growth (male flower) on the top of the whole corn plant is the tassel.

“Tassel” is a word associated with corn, and silk has a generic tassel-y appearance, so people often think that the silk must be the tassel. But it’s a completely different part of the plant.

Since it was produced by selection for mutations in the ancestral plant (and ones that are actually detrimental to reproduction in the wild) you would have to wait around for such mutations to occur (or search perhaps millions of wild plants). And then some genes apparently came in through hybridization with related species. It would be impossible to predict, and it might be impossible under any conditions (aside from genetic engineering).