Corn Silk Has A Way Cooler Purpose Than You Ever Realized

Sex. It's for sex.

Corn silk is the bane of any corn lover’s existence. The husk is tricky to yank off the cob, and the silk sticks to it like glue, which makes eating your summer fresh corn a messy experience. Have you ever wondered why it’s there, anyway?

The folks behind the video series “How Does It Grow” answered this burning question and the answer is simple: reproduction. Each ear of corn has to be pollinated in order to grow, but the husk ― acting as a chastity belt ― gets in the way. Corn silk pokes out the top of the husk and catches pollen, and then transfers it down to the cob to pollinate the kernels on the ear. That’s right, there are as many strands of corn silk as there are kernels on the cob. Those strings may be annoying, but they’re the reason we have summer corn. Watch the video above for the full explanation.

Now that you know, here are a few ideas for those kernels once you free them of their silk.

1
Smoked Paprika Corn With Bacon
Foodie Crush
Get the Smoked Paprika Corn with Bacon recipe from Foodie Crush
2
Pasta With Corn, Slow-Cooked Tomatoes, And Garlic Confit
Phyllis Grant/Food52
3
Tarragon Corn Chowder
Simply Recipes
Get the Tarragon Corn Chowder recipe from Simply Recipes
4
Summer Crostini With Whipped Roasted Garlic Goat Cheese
How Sweet It Is
5
Grilled Corn And Pasilla Pepper Salad
Foodiecrush
6
Savory Masa Corn Cakes With Green Chile
James Ransom/Food52
7
Easy Grilled Corn Tomato Salad
How Sweet It Is
Get the Easy Grilled Corn Tomato Salad recipe from How Sweet It Is
8
Corn & Smoked Salmon Bisque
Adventures in Cooking
Get the Corn & Smoked Salmon Bisque recipe from Adventures in Cooking
9
Sweet Corn And Bacon Chicken Salad
How Sweet It Is
Get the Sweet Corn and Bacon Chicken Salad recipe from How Sweet It Is
10
Sweet Corn Polenta With Eggplant Sauce
Food52
Get the Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce recipe from Genius Recipes via Food52
11
Slow Cooker Creamed Corn
Foodie Crush
Get the Slow Cooker Creamed Corn recipe from Foodie Crush
12
Okra And Sweet Corn Purloo
Thirschfeld/Food52
Get the Okra and Sweet Corn Purloo recipe from Thirschfeld via Food52
13
BLT Pizza With Grilled Corn + Crumbled Feta
How Sweet It Is
14
Corn, Bacon And Clam Stew
Food52
Get the Corn, Bacon, and Clam Stew recipe from Matt Greco via Food52
15
Mini Roasted Poblano Risotto Cakes With Grilled Corn Salsa
How Sweet It Is
16
Sweetcorn & Bacon Soup
Verses from my Kitchen
Get the Sweetcorn & Bacon Soup recipe from Verses from my Kitchen
17
Spicy Corn And Jalapeño Dip
Bev Cooks
18
Chili Lime Corn On The Cob
A Beautiful Mess
Get the Chili Lime Corn on the Cob recipe from A Beautiful Mess
19
Sweet Corn, Red Pepper And Green Chile Empanadas
Bev Cooks
20
Tarragon Corn
Simply Recipes
Get the Tarragon Corn recipe from Simply Recipes
21
Corn Pop
James Ransom/Food52
Get the Corn Pop recipe from meraviglia via Food52
22
Double Corn, Quinoa & Cheddar Muffins
James Ransom/Food52
Get the Double Corn, Quinoa & Cheddar Muffins recipe from boulangere via Food52
23
Corn, Goat Cheese, Basi And Lemon Tart
dashandbella
24
Sweet Corn + Jalapeno Hummus
How Sweet It Is
Get the Sweet Corn + Jalapeno Hummus recipe from How Sweet It Is
25
Smoky Ham-And-Corn Chowder
Yunhee Kim/Food&Wine
26
Summer Chickpea Salad With Honey Garlic Lime Vinaigrette
How Sweet It Is
28
Black Bean, Corn And Avocado Salad
Annie's Eats