Appalachia Appalachian Food Preserving/Canning

Corncob Jelly

corncob jelly

Corncob Jelly – Mountain Cooking by John Parris 1978


Elizabeth Edwards, who operates a business with a strictly mountain flavor, has discovered a delectable use for the lowly corncob. She’s come up with corncob jelly.

“I got the idea from a story I ran across last fall,” Mrs. Edwards explained one day last week. “It was about a man remembering a visit to an old-time country fair. He mentioned that he had tasted corncob jelly. I decided I would give it a try.”

She had to start with only the idea. She didn’t have a recipe. But being a master hand at the art of canning and preserving, she set out to do a bit of experimenting in her kitchen.

“I had my husband get me a bushel of fresh corncobs,” she said. “They were white corncobs. I boiled them, poured off the juice. Then I worked the juice up into a jelly. It was clear, almost pure white, but tasty. I figured it ought to have some color, so next I tried it with red corncobs. They worked out best.”

She tried it on some of her friends without telling them what it was, and they went wild about it.

“It has a taste similar to apple jelly,” Mrs. Edwards explained. “But a little more delicate. Those who tasted it wanted to know what kind of apples I used. When I told them it was made out of corncobs they wouldn’t believe me.”


I’ve never even tasted corncob jelly. I’ve seen it at few fairs and festivals. And a quick google will turn up all kinds of recipes for corncob jelly. It doesn’t sound all that appealing to me, but as I said I’ve seen it around and about enough to know there must be quite a few folks who like it.


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  • Reply
    September 8, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Jen-thank you for all the great comments! You know I don’t know for sure about the red corn, but I’d guess its not sweet corn. Maybe someone else will chime in with the answer : )

  • Reply
    September 4, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    I got 28 quarts of tomatoes from 2 boxes at Johnny’s Fruit Stand. He got them for me in Asheville at the Farmer’s Market, Saturday. I canned 14 yesterday and 14 today and I’m about killed, so much that I went to Ingles and got a plate of Meatloaf, pinto beans, and Peach Cobbler. Lordy, that hit the spot
    I never heard of Corncob Jelly, but after listening and reading your Blog for years, I don’t doubt you. Your sweet corn looks so good. I’d say you still fix Silver Queen. I been craving some fried Hickory Cane and several Biscuits to start on.
    My internet has been off since I read The Blind Pig, I should’ve commented when I had the chance. …Ken

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    September 4, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    I’ve never tried Corn Cob Jelly but I heard of using Corn Cobs in the out house though we never used them thanks to the wonderful Sears & Roebuck Catalogs which arrived regularly. My Dad always joked that using Corn Cobs in the outhouse required two red cobs and one white. One red cob was used then the white one to see if the second red cob was needed.

  • Reply
    Anne D.
    September 4, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    With all the talk of sure enough homemade jams and jellies, my goodness, I swear I could get a whiff of a pan of hot from the oven cat head biscuits, butter sweet and creamy, and the crowning touch of Watermelon Rind Preserves or Fig preserves…our favorites in South Mississippi.
    Y’all ever had watermelon rind preserves? Lawh, there is none better.
    It was a tedious chore to cut the rind off, leaving the light green innerds, with a touch of red, but well worth it through the winter months. We always put in cinnamon sticks and lemon slices–so delicious.
    Mayhaw and CrabApple and Pear Preserves were also staples, with recipes from great-grands’ hand written ‘receipt’ books. My husband and I made these all for 40 + years, until I could no longer, due to health issues, and we reveled in family memories with every jar, sparkling jewels lined up on the shelves in our old pie safe~by the way, built by his grandfather in 1900.
    Thanks for the memories!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 4, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    I think my Mother added a “twinkling of apple juice” to her corncob jelly. Which upped the flavor and color to a more light yellow from the clearer color of white corn.
    I wonder if it is the oddity of the light taste and color of corn in the jelly or the stronger flavor of the cooked sugar that the folks liked. Seems to me it could easily be called “White Sugar Jelly”!
    Now then, that said…I do believe I could eat a whole jar of Peaches and Cream corncob jelly…for when that corn graces my kitchen….you have to look for it quick because it is soon consumed. Such sweet flavor the butter will melt on the ear nearly without cooking at all!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 4, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    I’ve been studying about jelly since your post about grape jelly the other day. I have done some research (not just Google) about it and have reached the conclusion that you can make jelly with just about anything. Plain water with a little lemon juice will work. The juice you use at the beginning of the recipe serves to carry the flavor, the acid and a little bit of pectin. The variability in the amount of juice used depends on the amount of acid and natural pectin in it. To make water flavored jelly you would have to decrease the amount as the Sure-Jell wouldn’t have any help from any natural pectin.
    So why not corncob jelly? If you like corncob flavor! Or celery jelly? Or pine needle jelly? It would just have to be something you liked sweetened because it is the sugar that makes to jelly anyway.
    I know about sugar free jellies but here is what they contain: methoxyl -a blend of methyl and hydroxyl.
    methyl – The univalent hydrocarbon radical, CH3, formally derived from methane by the loss of a hydrogen atom; a compound or part of a compound formed by the attachment of such a radical.
    hydroxyl – A univalent radical or functional group (–OH) in organic chemistry; present in alcohols, phenols, carboxylic acids and certain other classes of compounds.
    That sounds like something a terrorist would put in a suicide vest don’t it!

  • Reply
    September 4, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    From making dolls with corn husks, to performing as a trellis for beans, to providing fuel for vehicles, to becoming a “tent” for young folk, to heating a stove, to feeding livestock, to corn cob jelly – not to mention the zillions of foodstuffs made of corn – corn sure is a versatile and sustainable plant!!!! If we all put our heads together, I wonder how many uses we could come up with for the stalwart corn plant?

  • Reply
    eva m. wike
    September 4, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Tipper” We have never heard about corn cob Jelly! But I am telling you that my Grandma Wimpey sure knew how to make all kinds of fruit Jelly. She was the most wonderful Grandma EVER! So tiny and frail but mighty devoted to her daughter’s ELEVEN CHILDREN! I was number SEVEN and got to stay with help Grandma and help her when I was in High School! BEST DAYS EVER!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 4, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Heard of it. Maybe even seen it. Never tasted it. Jelly has sure been made from a lot of different things; kudzu bloom, moonshine, mint and who knows what all. Jaemor’s Farm Market has FROG jelly (figs, raspberry, orange and ginger).
    Makes me think jelly is basically just sweet, a gelling agent and a color/flavor ingredient. So it is very flexible. I suppose one could – and someone has – made rose, dandelion, violet and similar jellies.

  • Reply
    September 4, 2017 at 9:40 am

    This sounds interesting. I’m curious…we have white and yellow sweet corn…are the red cobs from sweet corn?

  • Reply
    September 4, 2017 at 8:55 am

    Mom never made corncob jelly that I know of. That puzzled me for a minute because she made a use for everything. We never used corncobs in the outhouse, but I’m sure her parents did. Maybe Mammy never taught her girls to make corncob jelly due to their use being more beneficial elsewhere. I think I will stick with apple jelly.

  • Reply
    September 4, 2017 at 8:48 am

    I am eating corn on the cob right this minute, for breakfast, and thinking how much I’d like to try corncob jelly! With only a ew cobs I don’t think I could do much, though. Maybe next year!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 4, 2017 at 8:08 am

    A true example of use it up

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    September 4, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Hi, Tipper. I can’t believe you haven’t tried corncob jelly. It is delicious. It is beautiful, too. It looks like liquid gold. I did up a bunch of corn a few years ago and gave it a try. I’m glad I did. Your readers can go here where I posted how I made it.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 4, 2017 at 7:51 am

    Tip, I’ve heard of corncob jelly but like you, I’ve never tasted it. I figure, though, that if you put enough sugar in it, someone will eat it! I don’t usually like jellies that are so mild that you can’t identify the contents. Some apple jellies are too mild to suit my taste. My grandmother once added some currents to apple jelly made from early transparent apples. I’m sure that’s because the flavor is so mild as to almost not be there.

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