We love corn on the cob in the summer, but the season for fresh corn only lasts so long, so the next best thing is to freeze it! Freezing corn is a little messy, but it’s not hard at all. Wouldn’t it be divine to have a taste of summer come January?
Get Corn Into the Freezer Quickly
Make sure that your corn is really fresh (as in picked the same day) because corn goes downhill fast. Corn takes only six hours after it is picked to change from a sugar to a starch. So it’s important to get it into the freezer quickly once it’s taken from its stalk.
Corn is different from most vegetables. It isn’t pollinated by the bees; rather, the wind does the job. Each individual tassel connects to a single kernel of corn so there has to be a whole lot of pollinating going on to create nice, big, full ears. That’s why small patches of corn don’t usually work out so well. We need a large stand for the wind to be able to blow enough juice to satisfy every tassel. The way my garden is set up is not ideal for corn so I buy it from my local, organic farmer.
How to Freeze Corn
I arrive at my local, organic farm when or slightly after it opens. I buy three dozen ears and bring them home. Two and a half dozen of these ears will be frozen!
Immediately, I put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.
While waiting for this to happen, I shuck the corn from its husks, removing all that silk.
I also get out several trays of ice, depositing the cubes in an insulated container. Quart-sized freezer bags are labeled with the year and set aside. A large stainless steel bowl is pulled from the cupboard and placed on the table.
Blanching the Corn
Once the water starts boiling, I use tongs to deposit six ears into the water and begin the timer for 4 minutes. (How many ears of corn you can blanche depends on the size of your pot.) Start counting your time as soon as the cobs enter the water.
I fill the large stainless-steel bowl half with cold water and throw in eight or nine ice cubes to make it colder. When the timer dings, I pull the ears from the hot water and plunge them into the iced water to halt the cooking process. Let the corn sit in the icy water until it’s cold.
Repeat this with all the ears.
Slice the Kernels from the Cob (or Don’t)
Once the corn has cooled, I place the ears on the tray. Using a sharp knife, I cut the kernels from the cobs into a bowl, just running the knife down the sides. It’s messy! Try to get as many of the kernels off a you can. If you can do this job outside, even better for clean-up!
(You can freeze the entire cob instead, but I don’t care for frozen cobs and they take up a lot of space.)
Freezing the Corn
When you have a big pile of kernels, scoop it into freezer bags (generally 3 or 4 ears fills a quart), pat them flat (to remove air and so that they will stack easily) and seal the bag. Another trick—place a straw inside the bag, seal it mostly up, suck out the extra air and seal quickly.
Put in freezer in single layers so the corn freezes quickly.
Doing this twice a summer gives me about 16 quarts which is plenty for my use during the winter. You can use ¼ of the bag, or ½, or the whole thing.
Sweet corn is wonderful in soups, stews, and stir fries—or, as a scrumptious side—all year long.
We can’t talk about sweet corn without leaving you with some delicious recipes! Here are a few:
Summer Corn Chowder
Corn and Black Bean Pitas
Fresh Corn Salad