Pros: lasts years, easy to clean, can cook with them already in cob
Cons: not as easy to insert as metal pronged cob-holders
The corn has come in and we've been picking ears for a couple of weeks now, to my daughter's delight. Ever since she got on solid foods, she has always loved corn on the "nob" (as she called it), and it's always been my preferred way of having corn as well, especially if it's sweet corn. When she was much younger, I bought a few packs of generic corncob-shaped ear holders so she wouldn't make as much of a mess while eating her corn, but I always replaced them because of problems with them. When a relative of mine hosted a Pampered Chef party some years back, the Pampered Chef Corn Cob Nobs are one item I purchased for close to $4 for a pack of 8.
The Pampered Chef Corn Cob Nobs are different than any ear-holders that I've ever used in that they aren't made of plastic and metal. These green little knobs are made of nylon which makes them pretty unbreakable. Unlike the metal pronged ear holders I have used in the past, these will not rust or crack. And since the ends aren't very sharp, they won't cause any injury. That (and that it won't rust) was the main selling point to me when I purchased them with my daughter in mind.
Using them is a bit more complicated than using the metal-pronged types because instead of pushing the ends into the ear of corn, one has to screw these in. The ends are shaped just like a screw which is also something I have yet to see on any other corn cob holders. Don't get me wrong, it's not all that hard to insert them into an ear of corn, but it does take me a bit longer than with the other variety. You can also insert these "Nobs" in the corn before you cook them, which was also new to me. I've done this twice, but stopped after that because even though it is deemed perfectly safe, it skives me out to think of anything other than "other food" cooking with my food. I also find it easier to insert them into cooked corn than uncooked corn.
To use these before cooking the corn, I had to cut off the ends of the corn and then while gripping the ear, screw them in each end. After doing this, they are ready to boil, steam, microwave, or even grill (after wrapping in heavy duty aluminum foil). I've only ever boiled them while the nobs were in place. After they were done cooking, I used tongs to remove them from the boiling hot water and placed them on a serving dish. I'm not sure exactly how long it was before I dared to touch the Nobs, but it was definitely under a minute, and they were faintly warm to the touch (instead of really hot like the steaming corn). In about as long, they had cooled considerably, enough so that I had no issues with letting my daughter (she might've been 4 at the time) handle them. To be honest, I wasn't really expecting it to work that well, even though that is it's claim. I figured "yeah right", and it would cool as soon as the corn did, which would defeat the purpose of inserting them beforehand (so we could hold and enjoy steamy corn).
Nowadays though (even the other night), I steam or boil the corn first and then insert the Nobs.. The cobs are a lot softer and screwing them in is a snap. I use a fork to hold the cob into place while I do this, and I'm neither losing or gaining time by doing it this way; it takes about the same amount of time as inserting them beforehand. Taking the Nobs out of the ears of corn is about the same no matter which way you decide to use them. They don't just pull out as easily as the metal-pronged cob holders, and I had to twist them a bit to get them out. Holding the used corn cob to do this can be done in two ways: holding the ear with your hands, or like I do, with a fork. Even still, because it is screwed in like it is, it just makes it where it won't slip out of the corn while eating it, and I've had that happen plenty of times with the other varieties.
Washing the Pampered Chef Corn Cob Nobs is super easy. You can use them in the dishwasher, but, they're also simple to clean with dish soap and water under the faucet. And since there is no metal, there can be no rust! If I didn't keep the metal pronged ones I used prior bone dry (couldn't leave it in dish rack to dry), they would eventually get rust on them, every time. That's just gross.
I'm not disappointed that I bought these Nobs. They cost a bit more than the cheap yellow kind found at places like Walmart, but they also last much longer. With my daughter being younger and more kid-clumsy at the time, I liked the peace of mind that she wouldn't accidentally poke herself, and today, she can eat her corn on the cob (Hmmm, I guess it really is "Corn on the Nob", now) the way she prefers it...piping hot. It's been a few years and they still look and work as good as the day I bought them. For anyone with kids, or just anyone who doesn't want to wrestle with a hot ear of corn, I would recommend this product. They're the best cob holders I've used, to date.