Recipe: Summery Corn Stock

Corn on the cob is the essence of summer.  Whenever we barbecue, it’s never a question of whether or not to eat corn…it’s just a matter of how we’ll prepare it.  Inevitably, we grab too many ears and end up with some leftovers that used to sit in the fridge until I decided enough time had passed for them to move to the compost.

I recently discovered the rich, creamy beauty of corn stock, though, and now those extra ears are like gold.  I even scoop up the ends of half eaten ears from time to time so I have plenty of cobs to make stock.

Corn stock is so easy to make, it really isn’t even a recipe.  It also takes something that is normally considered waste and makes a wonderful, flavorful food.  This stock does more to capture late summer than any pesto or canned tomato.  Use it as a base for chowders or vegan pozole, and the mellow scent of the cornfield will warm the corners of your house with steamy sunshine even in the dark days of winter.

Layered flavors elevate any dish, and stock makes the perfect base for recipes.  Sometimes, I hear people lament that vegan food, or just vegetables in general, are bland.  Without rich, layered seasoning to add complex flavor, any food lacks taste.  When making soups, sauces, and stews, a rich, solid stock forms the perfect base to build the tons of flavor.

Making corn stock is so simple.  Just freeze leftover cooked corn and then, when you have enough to fill a stock pot halfway, boil the cobs in water until the stock is cloudy and a little thick.  Then, reduce a bit and freeze to add a burst of summer to any dish!

Make rich stock from corn cobs.
Make rich stock from corn cobs.

Make sure you strain the stock, too.  I use a regular colander and bowl.  Instead of cheesecloth, which I think breaks down a little too quickly, I use a scrap of cotton gauze fabric.

The cotton gauze is actually a hood sample from a custom sewing project...
The cotton gauze is actually a hood sample from a custom sewing project…

Let the stock cool just a little before straining.  That way, it’s easy to squeeze every last bit out of the fabric.

Just pour the stock through the strainer to catch any bits of corn.
Just pour the stock through the strainer to catch any bits of corn.

The stock will be a bit cloudy and a soft golden color, almost like chicken stock. Sometimes, I reduce my corn stock further so that I have less to freeze.  Then, I just pour it into ice cube trays and bag up the cubes to use all winter!

If it looks a bit like chicken broth, it's done!
If it looks a bit like chicken broth, it’s done!

How I make summery corn stock:


  • cooked corn cobs, with or without corn still on them
  • enough water to fill a stock pot


  1. Place the frozen cobs in your favorite heavy bottomed stock pot and add water to cover.
  2. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 2 hours or so.  When the cobs look grayish and the stock is thick and cloudy, the stock is done.
  3. Let the stock cool slightly.
  4. Strain the stock through cheesecloth, muslin, or other fabric and a colander, squeezing out as much liquid as possible.
  5. Now you can compost the cobs!  They’ll break down even faster now, too.
  6. Optional:  Rapidly bring the strained stock to a boil to quickly reduce.
  7. Cool, pour into ice cube trays, and freeze.

Note:  I like to add salt when cooking, so I never salt stock.  If you choose to salt your stock, just remember to adjust the salt accordingly when cooking.

This stock tastes so wonderful in rich corn and potato chowders, but I love using it in my Vegan Pulled Jackfruit Pozole the most!  I’d love to see how use use this easy recipe in your cooking!  I can’t believe I just composted corn cobs for so long!

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