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Don't Throw Away those Corn Husks! 18 Things to do with Corn Husks



We live in a consumer driven throw away world. But, what if instead of just tossing things out we actually put our thinking caps on and started thinking about how to re-use something? Remember the old saying "Waste Not, Want Not"

Sustainability is a life style that cultivates the practice of making something out of whatever resources you have. It is a way of life that teaches us not to waste anything. With that in mind I went searching for ways to use the shucked corn husks I had previously thrown away.

The longer I live the more things I discover. Whatever you do, think twice before throwing something out because there are a million things you can do with that item. My latest discovery is corn husks. Seeing that it is corn season and after shucking my fair share of corn I started wondering if these husks that I usually throw away without thinking, would be useful for something. So, I put my thinking cap on and did a bit of research and came up with 17 things to do with corn husks. Read along you might just be surprised. I know I was.

1. Corn Husk Angels and Dolls:

Corn husk dolls have been made for thousands of years. Here are some beautiful ones made in Mexico that you could also make.

2. Toilet Paper:

Long before toilet paper was invented by the Chinese, people used corn husks to finish the job after using the toilet. It sounds better than a lot of other things that were used like rocks and hands!

Tamale Recipe

  • Real Homemade Tamales Recipe -
    I had been looking for a Tamale recipe for years. One day I went to the international market and stood in the Mexican aisle till a woman with a full cart came by. I just asked her if she knew how to make Tamales. This is her recipe with a few additio

3. Tamales:

If you are going to make tamales you have to use corn husks. Here is a wonderful recipe:

4. Compost:

Corn husks are organic and they can be composted. They just might take a little longer to break down because there are very fibrous.

5. Soup Stock:

Use them in Soups: Many people use corn husks in soups for additional flavor. Here is the recipe for Corn Husk and Fennel Stock: Yield: 4 Cups

  • Husks from 3 ears of corn (about 3 cups)
  • Fennel fronds from 2 fennel bulbs roughly chopped
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • Enough water to cover the greens (approximately 2 liters)
  • 1 tsp of sea salt

Place everything in a stock pot, bring to boil and simmer for 45 minutes. When done, strain the stock and set aside.

6. Corn Husk Flowers:

Make Corn Husk Flowers: Corn husk flowers are like paper flowers but sturdier, they can be made in any color.

7. Make a Corn Husk Basket:

You can weave corn husks and they make great baskets for gifts.

8. Use Corn Husks to wrap up food:

It would be much more economical and sustainable than using Tupperware.

9. Use Corn Husks to start a fire:

Corn husks after they have been dried make great fire starters.

10. Use them to wrap fish or seafood in to grill them:

Corn husks are cheaper than aluminum foil and biodegradable!

11. Feed them to your pigs!

They will eat them and the cobs too, pigs will eat almost anything!

Making a Corn Husk Wreath

12. Make a corn husk wreath:

Great for Thanksgiving and it makes a great project for a rainy day with the kids.

13. Corn Husk Rope:

Corn husks are very fibrous and very strong and they make great ropes or ties.

14. Corn Husk Hair Clips, Brooches and more flowers:

These would make beautiful gifts.

15. Corn Husk Spliff (cigarette)

I am by no means advocating smoking but they would work..just saying.

16. Corn Husk Paper:

This looks like something you could do as a project with your kids. Heck I would like to try it myself, look Ma no chemicals!

17. Corn Husk Autumn Favors:

These look like something Martha Stewart would have thought up.

18. Corn Husk Luminaries:

These decorative candle holders would look really nice for an autumn festival or for Thanksgiving and they are super easy to make.

I hope you find something in this list to make using your corn husks. One is only limited by one's imagination. After all they are only available for a short time every year. Isn't it wonderful that we can find so many ideas out there, now that we have the internet and can share easily. I think it's a healthy thing to teach our children and others to make use of things rather than just throw it away. In our consumer driven world we are not encouraged to think outside the box. We are encouraged to buy, buy, buy instead of re-use, re-purpose and create. We must reverse the way we think about resources and teach our children to do so as well. Not only is it fun and creative it is satisfying for the soul.


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Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on August 29, 2014:

Yes, it's kind of fun isn't it? Thanks for commenting "aviannovice".

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on August 29, 2014:

When my father barbecued, he wrapped the shucked corn in the husks after they were damp and cooked them on the grill. Fabulous suggestions. I save my egg shells for both the birds(to help digest their food), and also use some for the soil. I also regularly put coffee ground down the kitchen sink to keep the drain clear and sweet smelling. There's so much that we can do, besides recycle paper, plastic, glass, etc.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on August 24, 2014:

Isn't it great to find uses for things that are virtually free? I get a kick out of it. I'm glad you found some things you can use.

Dianna Mendez on August 24, 2014:

9, 10, 11 are ones I'm going to use from now on. I see some that I already use here so glad to know my efforts are contributing to earth's environment.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on August 23, 2014:

I agree and it's so wonderful because now with the internet we can learn about all these ideas that have been lost and of course the new ones too. It really is about changing our mindset and instead of just tossing something, thinking about how we can use it. I think it's a lot of fun. Thanks for commenting, tweeting and pinning and voting ;)

Faith Reaper from southern USA on August 23, 2014:

Oh, how clever and unique! I love the angel dolls. Thank you for sharing of all of these great ideas here. It is amazing what we can reuse such items for if only we would learn to be more resourceful and mindful to do so.

Voted up +++ tweeting and pinning

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on August 23, 2014:

Thanks "Homeplace Series".

William Leverne Smith from Hollister, MO on August 23, 2014:

A number of useful suggestions. Thanks for sharing! ;-)

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on August 22, 2014:

LOL..btw the luminaries are not flammable because they have jars inside.

Thanks for stopping by.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on August 22, 2014:

Brie, what a useful hub with some things I would have never thought to do with corn husks. I have made a few corn husk dolls after I paid so much for one. The only problem with mine was that it rapidly deteriorated. Bugs will eat them, too. The corn husk flowers look interesting,

I’m afraid the luminaries would be flammable and set the yard on fire. Mr. B occasionally gets on a tamale-making kick and uses them for wrappers, but I would never have thought of cooking them in soup.

Oh, about the no. 2 use, I’ve been told that they used to use the cobs for that, too, Old Ozark joke:

Why do you need to use one white corn cob and two red ones in the outhouse? Because you use a red one first, then you use the white one to see if you need another red one.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on August 22, 2014:

Bizarre enough to be first in a google search ..I hope ;)

Thanks for commenting Billy.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 22, 2014:

This goes under my top ten list of bizarre article titles. LOL Just kidding...the suggestions are actually very cool, and we do some of these on our little urban farm. Nice job of finding the unusual here, Brie. Have a great weekend.

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