Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes Gardening

Sweet Glorious Corn

Silver queen corn in brasstown

Glorious Corn! Civilization as a whole could not survive without corn. The early settlers of Appalachia depended on corn for food, fodder, beds, dolls and even for use in the outhouse. In the early days, most Appalachians would have eaten corn, in some form, 3 times a day. Sometimes we still do.

Nothing is finer than fresh corn. By the end of the growing season, Pap’s garden is wiped out, not leaving enough corn to put up. For the past several years The Deer Hunter has returned to the big mountains of Haywood County, were he grew up, to get our “putting up” corn. Each year we all agree-it’s the best corn we’ve ever eaten. Barretts Farm lies along a portion of the upper Pigeon River-maybe the corn is so good because it’s irrigated with river water-I’m not sure-but the corn is unbelievably delicious and beautiful.

Everyone pitches in to help on corn day. Chitter and Chatter are good shuckers.

Even Ruby Sue gets in on the action. Nothing goes on at our house without Ruby being in the middle of it.

With everyone working together the shucks are flying.

And the corn is piling up. The Deer Hunter is in complete control of the knife and warns Chatter and Chitter about how dangerous a sharp knife can be. Then Papaw calls.

While The Deer Hunter walks away to talk on the phone and I go to hang out clothes, Chitter decides she can use the knife to cut a bad place off an ear of corn.

Chitter should have listened to her Daddy.

The Deer Hunter and I both agree if the cut was on one of us-we would just wrap it up and let it heal on its on. But since it was Chitter, we took a quick trip to see if Pap thought the cut needed stitches. Pap said “why the emergency room would stitch up a chigger bite-take her home, clean it out good, wrap it up good, and make a splint for it and she’ll be fine.” So Dr. Deer Hunter took over. And Chitter….

Went to the couch, while the rest of us finished the corn.





I have a scar on my thumb from putting up corn. Back in the day, when The Deer Hunter and I were dating, his family was putting up corn and I was helping. After I cut my thumb, I was so embarrassed, I acted like I had to go to the bathroom and went upstairs.

Once I was alone, I realized I had cut myself pretty bad and would need some help. I got up my nerve and yelled for The Deer Hunter to come up there for a minute. He walked in the door saying “You cut yourself” I said “how did you know?” he said “I followed the blood trail.” So much for impressing his family. I left a blood trail through their dining room, kitchen, and up the stairs.

Have you ever injured yourself putting up sweet glorious corn or while canning/preserving food?



You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    August 11, 2008 at 12:50 am

    I can recall many hours spent out on the front porch shucking corn for my mom to prepare for freezing. I never did the cutting, so no injuries that I can recall. We sure did enjoy that frozen corn through the year!

  • Reply
    August 9, 2008 at 6:53 am

    That sure looks good! The corn, I mean, not the cut. Poor thing. I have never harmed myself while canning or putting up anything. My daughter stabbed herself (in the hand) with a knife a couple of years ago. Thankfully, it wasn’t too bad and the doctors just superglued it back together.
    I have never shucked corn as a group before. I have popped peas and greenbeans. I’d rather do corn. LOL

  • Reply
    Jennifer in OR
    August 8, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    That’s a lot of corn!! What fun memories are being stored up for your children. I’ve shucked a lot of corn, but never that much. I’ve cut myself many times, but nothing so serious as to need a doctor. Blessings to Chitter.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    We won’t talk about how we’ve cut ourselves but they have been doozies! Oh, OK how about the time my husband cut his finger with a kitchen knife while trimming and AX handle!?! eh-hem and I won’t mention my rotary cutter sliced finger!
    corn looks yummy–we’re getting lots from the town of Brentwood!It too is delicious. I wish I had a freezer a big as yours!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    I usually don’t cut myself. But I have grated my knuckles with the cheese grater lots of times. Does that count? You know what we use to cut the corn off the cob after boiling? An electric knife that we got for a wedding gift 32 years ago. This is the only thing we have ever used the knife for. It sure makes the cutting go quick. Do you remember an electric knife (back in the 70’s)?

  • Reply
    August 7, 2008 at 9:36 am

    I cut my thumb in half with my sewing rotary cutter….does that count? lol!

  • Reply
    GaFarmWoman Pam
    August 7, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Hey Tipper, The corn looks beautiful. Is it Silver Queen? Our corn here is finished up and the corn stalks are dryed. We planted some field corn too but the dry weather and deers got the best of it.
    I remember corn days when I was growing up and we would set under the big oak tree in the back yard. Each of us had a job, like a factory line. Even Grandma had her job of the corn washer. I was the shucker and silker. Mama was the cutter.
    Just to let you know I have tried several time to leave a comment lately. I don’t know what is up with my commenter. I do enjoy my visits here so.
    Have a great day.

  • Reply
    Amy @ parkcitygirl
    August 7, 2008 at 2:09 am

    YUM! My only kitchen cut was trying to open a bagel 🙁 I always use a cutting board now! Hope she heals quick 🙂

  • Reply
    August 6, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Your corn blog brought back many great memories of my late dear father in law. He loved getting all of us around to cut corn. I married the oldest of the 8 kids, and they put up lots of vegetables for the remaining 7 kids at home. Being a city kid, this was all new to me. I remember he wanted that corn cut, cooked, cooled and in the bag ASAP, before the starch turned to sugar.
    You all will have some great meals ahead!

  • Reply
    Renae du jour
    August 6, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    That’s a lot of corn! I’ve never lived anywhere that corn grew well, so we never had an abundance to can or freeze. That cut looks painful– I’m glad it wasn’t worse.

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    August 6, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Mostly I burn myself on hot pot lids and handles. Only cut myself once fileting a fish. Those thin fish knives are sharp!
    Ruby Sue looks so cute helping. Thanks for that sweet picture.
    I winced myself when I saw the cut on Chitter’s finger. Dad’s really know what they’re talking about … especially when it come to sharp objects. But she’s young and it’ll heal in no time.
    We get Silver Queen corn here in Maryland. White, sweet and crisp and I try to get some as often as I can. That’s why I like going to the Farmer’s Market under the Jones Falls overpass on Sunday after church. Living in the city, it’s the closest I can get to growing my own. And I get to shuck it too. 🙂 xxoo

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 6, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    PS: When I cut corn I look for the sharpest knife in the house. One time that was the Deer Hunter’s pocket knife. It is ALWAYS sharp!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 6, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Looks like a pretty nasty cut, isn’t it great that the young heal quickly!
    All that fresh corn is absolutely gorgeous. I love to put it up and most of all I love to eat it.
    Yesterday I made Grape Jelly, Grape Juice, and canned the sweet pickles I put in the crock two weeks ago.
    Mighty Fine!
    I don’t have a garden but I have a friend with a beautiful garden. He grows and picks, I can and freeze and we split the results! Thank you Saleh, that’s a great deal!!!!!!

  • Reply
    Razor Family Farms
    August 6, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    I cut and burn myself in the kitchen all the time. I can’t help it and it’s become a bit of a joke in our house. Josh will walk through the door and say, “So how did you hurt yourself today?”
    Canning is the worst for me. I’m almost guaranteed a burn or scald then. Mostly because I am canning for days on end and get very tired. That and I’m clumsy.
    And tired.
    Mostly tired.
    Lots of love to Chitter!

  • Reply
    petra michelle
    August 6, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Mmmmmmm. Hello Tipper! Summer would not be complete without corn in its husk on the barbecue, but love it in all its forms. Have never had the experience of shucking corn, but as a cook, have had my share of nicks. Am so sorry to hear about Chitter, but she looks as though whatever she’s watching is helping. Have a wonderful day! :)) Petra

  • Reply
    August 6, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Wow, our corn out here is barely just starting to come to ears! I can’t wait til we can pick off some glorious corn like yours!

  • Reply
    Joan J
    August 6, 2008 at 11:00 am

    My dad always grew corn, and would wait until the water was boiling before he’d agree to pick it for dinner. Ahhh..I can remember that fresh fresh corn taste! Thanks for the wonderful memories. I’m curious – any Appalachian corn recipes to share?

  • Reply
    August 6, 2008 at 6:57 am

    I know I must have but just can’t pick one particular event. My fingers and hands not only have scars from cuts but scars from burns. It comes with the territory. If you cook/bake, you have scars.

  • Reply
    August 6, 2008 at 10:41 am

    My in-laws were out last fall. We went to the beach and gathered clams for chowder; back at home my husband was chopping away with a new kitchen knife while talking to his mom and off came the end of his thumb. His mom is a nurse, so we ran off to the pharmacy for butterfly bandaids and antibiotic ointment. We don’t let him chop and talk at the same time anymore! lOL!
    I sure hope that Chitter’s finger heals fast!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2008 at 10:19 am

    I haven’t ever “put up” corn but I’d love to be living in your house this winter! Here in MI the corn is wondefully sweet and abundant ~ peaches and cream from Mr. Hemmeter’s farm is my favorite! Mmmmm!
    Poor Chitter! I’d have suggested a bit of superglue to close the cut once it was washed out. I lived with an M.D. in Argentina and she used it all of the time on the neighborhood kids who came to the door with cuts. The hospital was in another town and the buses only ran from 7:00a.m. until 11:00p.m.

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    August 6, 2008 at 8:21 am

    Tipper: What a great story, it was too bad that the injury occurred. I’m sure everyone has had minor injuries when working with vegetables. I’ve had more injuries fishing then gardening.
    BTW: I have an award for you on my blog.

  • Reply
    August 6, 2008 at 8:15 am

    No corn injuries that I can ever remember but we never freeze as much as it looks you guys have. We freeze what we grow and can’t eat fresh but that is never a whole, whole lot. How long do your blanch yours for?

  • Reply
    The Texican
    August 6, 2008 at 7:24 am

    I have so many scars on my hands it is hard to tell them from the age lines. I don’t feel like I’ve done a days work until I see blood. My grandmother had a sloted lap board with a blade mounted in in the middle. She held it over a large pan and pulled the ears of corn over the blade and the cut corn fell into the pan. I love it creamed.

  • Reply
    noble pig
    August 6, 2008 at 3:17 am

    Ouch, poor girl! I can’t say I’ve ever hurt myself with corn but lots of other things!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2008 at 12:33 am

    I so miss fresh, farm corn. I grew it once here, but my garden is about 6′ x 16′ and I took up half of it to get two meals. Not a wise use of space.
    Great post to remind me of different days (although I love my life as it is now). I never cut myself with the corn, but I flip out over worms, and the corn worms do not make me happy. I have to shuck with gloves on.
    My favorite corn is ornamental. When shucking it, each one was like a Christmas package. The excitement of what awaited inside was giddying!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    No…I’ve never actually “put up” any corn. My mother used to do so and there is nothing any better than sweet corn. YUM

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    August 5, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    Ah me yes. Our corn is just now ready–we had our first mess last night and was it good! I just hope it can hold until Thursday when I’ll have time to work on it.
    I’ve tried some Bloody Butcher this year, to use for corn meal. Been years since I’ve grown it. Have you ever tried it?

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    August 5, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Man, that looks awesome. I’ve never seen so much corn. I don’t have horses, but my chickens would love those cobs.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    Yup, sure have..more than once. The first thing I thought of when I saw all that corn was I hope they have good screens because as anybody who has ever put up corn knows that is every flies favorite day of the year.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    I haven’t cut myself while canning that I can remember. But that corn sure looks good! My horses would love all those corn husks!

  • Reply
    Valarie Lea
    August 5, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    Mmmmmmm, I love fresh corn!!

  • Leave a Reply