A couple of weeks ago, my parents told me that Romanians make tea from corn silk. You can even buy dried corn silk in pharmacies or grocery stores there.
Corn silk? I’m talking about the long, fine, yellow threads at the top of corn cobs. I used to call them “angel hair” (which I secretly still do). In fact, they feel a bit like silk, which is where the name comes from.
In German, we also use fun alternative names: Corn beard or corn hair, for example. Which do you like better? I think all three are charming: Corn silk, corn beard, corn hair.
In my childhood, there was always boiled corn on the cob in August and September; I loved it. My grandparents plucked the corn silk and leaves from the cobs and cooked them together with the cobs in water. A sweet smell of golden autumn days meandered throughout the house, across the yard, and into the garden (where I often lingered). I could hardly wait to nibble the cobs sprinkled with a bit of salt … and regularly burned my tongue on them.
Today I cook corn the same way my grandparents used to – I think it gets more flavorful when cooked with the leaves and corn silk.
And now, there is corn silk tea.
As in traditional Chinese medicine, in Romania, cornsilk tea is said to have healing properties, especially for urinary tract issues. Due to its diuretic properties, corn silk tea is believed to support the bladder and kidneys.
This week I enjoyed a cup of tea made of fresh corn silk. Yum, not bad at all; it tasted mild and smelled delicately of corn – as if lying in a rustling cornfield kissed by the sun and daydreaming.
For a cup of tea, I brew the corn silk from one cob with boiling water and let it steep for 10 minutes. For dried corn silk, I use one teaspoon per cup.
If you don’t want to use fresh corn silk immediately, let it air-dry for a few days at room temperature (for example, on paper towels). Once dried, you can store it well sealed for up to a year, thus having a good supply of delicious tea year-round.
I’m curious: Have you had corn silk tea? Perhaps you have other unusual tea recommendations?