Freezing Sweet Corn

If Mike is known for anything here in the valley, he is known for the potatoes and the sweet corn that he grows.  While variety of corn definitely has something to do with flavor and texture, the real key to delicious corn is freshness.  The secret to our success with corn sales has always been that we have the freshest corn around, literally picking it in the fields hours and sometimes minutes before it is sold.  Selling excess sweet corn in Verona is actually what got us started with our mobile produce stand and while we have chosen not to go mobile this year, we have had enough sweet corn to sell to a few of our long established customers who have been very happy to get it.  These are the customers who buy multiple dozens a year to put up in their freezers.  We even have one customer that buys 25 dozen at a time!  While we personally really enjoy fresh sweet corn, in year's past we didn't care too much for frozen corn.  However, this past year I froze corn that had been cut off the cob and found that we really enjoyed eating it when I would just warm it up in a skillet with a little bit of butter and salt.  Boiling the already blanched corn just takes more of the flavor out of it and I have found there is really no need to do more than just heat it thoroughly in a little butter.  We also really enjoy having the corn to throw in our vegetable soup during the middle of winter.  The following instructions are for corn that has been cut off the cob, however, one can blanch the corn and leave it on the cob if preferred.  We have found the fresh taste to be less altered and the texture to be more crisp when the corn has been cut off the cob before being frozen.

 1.  Always start with the freshest corn possible.  It really does make a difference.  Ideally, you will use corn that is free from worms and deformities, however, one can cut the ends off cobs that have been damaged by worms.  It won't affect the rest of the corn.  It is best to process corn that is a little more on the mature side (with larger kernels). While many people enjoy eating fresh corn with the smaller kernels, the more mature kernels make cutting the corn off the cob a much easier process.

Shuck and clean your corn.  I prefer to shuck the corn outside and clean off as much of the silk as possible while I am outdoors.  My Jersey cows enjoy eating the shucks that I toss to them.

2.  Bring to a rolling boil a large pot of water.  Place your cleaned ears of corn in the boiling water for three minutes.  You can simply drop your corn down into the water and remove with tongs when three minutes has elapsed or you can place the corn in a basket strainer and submerge it in the water.  If you use a basket, make sure that the corn is packed loosely so that it can be equally steamed.  When you remove the corn from the hot water, chill it immediately.  It is suggested that an ice bath is the best method to cool the hot corn.  Because I process such large batches, I simply run cold water over the corn to cool it off.  This is an important step.  If you don't cool the corn, it will continue to cook from the heat and you won't have a nice, crisp texture when you pull it from the freezer.  It will end up overcooked, have less taste and not be as crunchy.

3.  The next step is to cut the corn off the cob.  I don't care how you do it, this step is messy.  You will have to find your own method and rhythm for cutting the corn off the cob but what I do is put the smaller end of the corn down inside a large, stainless bowl.  I start at the end closest to me and slice downward between the kernels and the cob.

4.  After the corn has been cut off the cob, it is now ready to freeze.  I usually freeze two cups of corn per Ziploc bag.

It's not difficult to freeze corn, it just requires a little effort.  Having homegrown corn in the freezer to eat in the middle of winter is a real treat:  cream it, add it to salads, throw some in corn bread, and put some in your vegetable soup!  Enjoy!

Do you have tips or want to share your experience with the best way to freeze corn?  Or, do you have a question about the method I have presented in this post?  Always feel free to leave a comment or email me at tcuppminiatures@yahoo.com  Please be patient as you wait for a response as we have limited cell phone and internet service for part of the week.  

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