Monday, October 4, 2010

Gadgets: Kuhn Rikon Corn Zipper

About this time two years ago, I bought a couple of large burlap bags full of corn from a local farmer. It was a great deal. I figured I'd cut it off the cob and freeze it.

About halfway through the project I questioned my sanity. I'm good with a knife, but cutting corn kernels off of that many cobs was an annoying and messy job. A few cobs, it's not that bad, but that huge pile of corn ... not that much fun.

After that little adventure, I started looking around for a better way, and I found quite a number of "corn zipper" tools. Yes, it seems a bit silly to buy a tool just for cutting corn off of a cob, but I figure that it's not much sillier than buying a peeler to peel vegetables. I can use a knife to peel potatoes, but a peeler's really handy for carrots.

In the same way, I could use a knife to remove kernels from corn, but if there's a tool that does it better, I have no problem with using that tool.

Finding the right one, though, was a challenge. I bought a few over the past two years that seemed like they'd do a great job, but they fell short. Finally, I found one that's small, simple, and it simply works. It cut the kernels smoothly and because of the way its designed, it's easy to cut at the proper depth.

Here's a look at the blade sections:

The cute design of this zipper almost dissuaded me from buying it, because it doesn't seem as serious than some of the zippers that are all stainless.

But it's comfortable to hold, and the rough corn-kernel texture is more than just design - the texture makes it a little grippier than if the handle was slick stainless steel. So in this case cute is also functional, and it only costs about $12. Not a bad deal if it's going to get me though that next couple bushels of corn.

And here's one last tip. If you're cutting a lot of corn, the best thing I've found to contain it while you're cutting is a half-sheet pan. It's better than a flat cutting board, and less annoying to work inside of than a bowl where you can't lay the corn cobs down. Give it a try.