The Many Uses for Corn Leaves

If you have grown corn just one time in your home garden, you know that there is a lot of plant waste after you have plucked the corn ears. The stalks, leaves, and husks all end up getting thrown away, which is a hard thing for some frugal-minded gardeners. However, there are many things you can do with corn leaves besides tossing them!


What Are Corn Leaves?

Although they are referred to differently, corn husks and corn leaves are the same things. The difference between the two is how they grow. Corn leaves are typically known as the blades sprouting from either side of the cornstalk, while the husks are what covers the ear of corn. However, husks are just corn leaves that have grown over the ears of corn to protect them. For most purposes, you can use corn husks and corn leaves interchangeably.

Uses for Green Corn Leaves

One of the best ways to use green corn leaves or husks is to wrap food in them before grilling. For example, if you wrap a clean, damp corn husk around a piece of fish, you can place it on the grill and steam the fish inside it! The moisture from the leaves prevents the fish from drying out and also provides a slightly sweet corn flavor.

You can also use the green leaves and stalks from your already-harvested corn as fodder for your animals. Any plant matter left after you have picked all the ears of corn can be chopped up and fed to cows, goats, and even pigs. Doing so can save money on feed as well as create a no-waste crop.

Using Dried Corn Leaves

Culinary uses for dried corn husks are many. If you are familiar with Mexican food, you already know that you can wrap tamales in dried corn leaves. However, you can also use the dried corn husks the following ways:

  • As a wrapper for vegetables or fish before grilling.
  • As the body of a corn-husk doll or for decorations.
  • Ground up for teas or used in merengues in desserts.
  • Ground into a dietary supplement to add fiber to your diet.

Tip: Soak the dried corn husks in hot water for about 30 minutes before wrapping around food you are grilling.

If you are the kind of person who does not want to see anything go to waste, you will be happy to know that with a little bit of creativity, you can use every bit of the corn plant and learn new things while doing so!