The notion to dehydrate corn came quickly, mostly inspired by this crunchy corn chocolate I once bought in Hokkaido and had planned to replicate. Of course, the corn in said chocolate was actually freeze-dried, not just dried, so I wasn’t sure if I’d get similar results from dehydrating. I figured it could either end up crisp and crunchy, or it could be dense and chewy, like a corn-flavored raisin. Either way I thought it would be tasty, and as it turned out, it came out sort of like a mix of both.
After drying on paper towel, I spread two cans’ worth of corn out on baking trays and parked them in an oven set to 65ºC for 12 hours overnight. In the morning I removed the trays and let them cool. The dried corn is a deeper, more golden yellow than the fresh kernels. The texture is pleasantly crunchy at first, but it then yields to a satisfying chew that sticks to your teeth like firm caramel. The flavor release is slow at first, but then strong and toffee-sweet: it’s corn, concentrated.
I ate half the corn on its own as a mid-morning snack, seasoned with salt, MSG, malic acid, and sanshō. Weirdly, the corn sweetness combined with the fruity, lemongrassy flavor of sanshō reminded me of corn-based kids’ breakfast cereal, specifically Fruity Pebbles. It was a tasty, surprisingly filling snack, and it would stand up to all sorts of other flavorful seasonings, sweet or savory. The remaining dried corn I’ll save to use in chocolate, or as a topping for any dish where a crunchy, corny, chewy sweetness would be a pleasant addition – fried rice, pulled pork, or even ice cream.