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how to freeze sweet corn

mmm corn

Dad plants sweet corn for all of us every year, staggered a week or two apart so we have sweet corn for longer. I don’t know exactly how far apart; I’m sure someone will read this and correct me since I seem to get something wrong in every post.

getting the silk off, a stack of corn, another stack by the stove, and corncobs with the corn cutter

It’s like when there’s a story in the paper that you were part of or know everything about. You read the article, and you find one thing reported incorrectly, then another, and another, and you come away wondering why you bother to believe anything you read or hear on the news ever.

cooling the just-blanched sweet corn!

Sweet corn is one vegetable that you want to freeze yourself if you can get hold of some fresh in season, because frozen store-bought just isn’t the same. Now, this isn’t true for all vegetables, as Mom and I concurred the other day. Yes, we talk about this kind of thing. We’re boring. We agreed that green beans, on the other hand, are pretty damn awesome frozen from the store. But sweet corn? Not so much.

no, she is not high

linda's using the kickass corn cutter

So get to a farmer’s market or a roadside stand right quick, get yourself some just-picked sweet corn, cajole a partner — you really, really want to do this with a partner — and set aside a few hours to freeze sweet corn.

corn corn corn corn corn

I drafted my aunt for the job. Which works really well, because I like blanching the corn and she likes cutting it from the cob. Which is the two main jobs involved. She’s got a fancy-schmancy corn-off-the-cob-cutter and I have to say, it’s awesome. I thought it might cut too deep and get that fibrous stuff you can’t chew and then have to hope you’re discreetly spitting it into your napkin, but it’s adjustable.

cutting the corn, not the cheese

We spent 2-1/2 hours from start — going out to pick and shuck the corn — to finish, including a quick trip to town to buy ice. This was to package 23 bags worth of 1-2 cups each, from about 40 ears to begin with.

how to freeze sweet corn

For us, approximately 40 ears yielded about 30 cups of cut corn. YMMV.

Before you begin, have the following:

    One or two large pots
    Two or more 7-pound bags of ice
    At least two large bowls
    Pint or quart size freezer bags
    One cup measuring cup. A funnel comes in handy too
    Corn cutter. Not necessary, but quicker and easier than hand-cutting with a knife
    Container for used corn cobs
    Straw, if not using hand-pump vacuum seal bags

1. Procure sweet corn. Either walk out back and pick some or get some at a farmer’s market or roadside stand. Buy it as fresh as possible.

2. Shuck sweet corn. Wipe away as much silk as possible. Break off the “handle” ends. If your corn is near-organic like mine is (like near beer?), there will be bugs trying to eat all that precious, precious starch. It’s likely the bugs have already made a dent in the tassel end of the corn. Solve that with step 3.

3. Cut off any ends with bugs on them. If an adventurous bug has wandered down mid-ear and begun chomping, cut out the bits where they’ve been. This part squicks me so I let other people do it. If you’re lucky, you’ll have an “other people” of your own to do it for you too.

3.5. Put water on to boil in a very large pot at some point in the shucking process. Now would be a good time.

4. Take the corn inside, and wipe off as much remaining silk as possible. Don’t worry about a bit of silk; stray strands will likely boil off when blanching, and if it doesn’t, well, more fiber for you.

5. Run cold water in a clean sink and add ice. You want the water to be icy cold. I’m anal about this. The purpose is to stop the cooking when you dump the boiling-hot ears of sweet corn in there. Keep it so there is always at least some ice in the water.

6. Dump 3-4 ears of corn into the boiling water. Boil for 5 minutes. Hey, now you’re blanching!

7. After five minutes, pull the hot ears out of the water with tongs, and transfer immediately to the ice bath in the sink. Allow ears to cool for five minutes.

8. While the corn is cooling, add 3-4 more ears to the boiling water. Now you’ve got a system going. One set of corn is blanching while the previous set is cooling.

9. After five minutes in the ice bath, remove ears and stand vertically in a colander so they drain well. Set the colander on a towel on the table where you’ll be removing the kernels from the corncobs.

10. Using a sharp knife or a corn cutter, liberate the kernels from the corncobs, either right over a large bowl, or transfer it to a large bowl when done. Don’t cut too deeply, or you’ll get a lot of unchewable fibrous material. It’s better to err on the side of caution here. If you use a knife, the corn will be more cream-style; if you use a corn cutter, the corn will be shoepeg-style.

11. Continue steps 6 through 10 until all of the corn has been cut from the cob.

12. Using measuring cup (and funnel, if desired — it makes things much less messy), portion cut sweet corn into freezer bags. For pints, put in 1 to 2 cups. For quarts, you can add up to 4 cups. I find that 2 scant cups of corn is a good amount when using it later for things like chili. However, it’s entirely personal preference.

put me in the freezer now!

13. Seal bags and remove air from them. If you’ve got the neat hand-pump vacuum seal system sold by Ziploc and probably other companies, you are rocking. If not, grab a straw, stick it in the bag, seal the bag around the straw, and suck as much air out as you can. Quickly remove the straw while closing the seal behind it.

14. Freeze your homemade sweet corn!

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  1. [...] Shucked and stacked sweet corn Posted by shinycooking Share This Post [...]

  2. [...] Shucked and stacked sweet corn Posted by shinycooking Share This Post [...]

  3. what a brilliant idea – i LOVE your caprese skewers and can imagine popping one too many in my mouth.

  4. Diana Bauman says:

    Amy, will you please send me some corn? LOL!! I totally want to do this next year :)

  5. Bill Atwood says:

    For doing larger quantities of corn to be cut or put up on the cob:
    I use an outside cooker with a large boiling pot and basket. Put shucked corn (50-60 ears) in basket and carefully lower basket into boiling water. When the water comes back to a boil. carefully remove the basket of drained corn and dump into an ice chest lined with 1 bag of ice. Add another bag of ice on top of corn, close lid and leave for 1 hour. Very important to chill the corn all the way through the cob to prevent souring.

    Take ice chest inside and place ears of corn on old beach towels and roll to remove excess water. Wrap each individual ear in Saran wrap and place wrapped ears in a zip-lock freezer bag for freezing. This entire process should be done without interruption in a timely manner. The same process is used for cut corn. Corn put up with this method will maintain fresh taste for 1 year. The desired number of ears for each meal can be removed for each meal.

    The 1 hour quick ice chill is the key to maintaining freshness!

  6. Susan Newton says:

    Here’s a no-fail way to freeze corn on the cob. Using fresh picked corn, leaving the husks on, cut off the long end, and trim the silk end. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper – do not stack. Place in freezer for 48 hours and then pop them into freezer bags. They should keep for 4 months and will taste fresh as the day they were picked. For cooking: If I’m using the oven, I’ll place a few on the top rack (with the husks on and in a frozen state). Sometimes I leave them in for 35 or 40 minutes while the rest of dinner is cooking. Or, thaw, husk and boil or microwave. This really works well, and a great way to preserve that fresh-picked taste for months.

  7. Shirley Stevens says:

    My Aunt cut her corn off the cob, proceded to cook it, add butter and seasonings just like she was serving it for a meal.
    All she did was let it cool down, freeze and seal.
    A friend does it the same way, then adds milk when she thaws and heats to serve.
    I don’t like frozen veggies as a rule, but this was alright.

  8. […] Here is a wonderful resource that will teach you (w/ pictures) how to freeze sweet corn: Shiny Cooking […]

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