Do you love the taste of fresh, grown on the farm sweet corn? In the summer months I often serve sweet corn on the cob for dinner but fresh corn is only available for a short time, so I freeze it and then we can enjoy it year round in Baked Corn, casseroles, soups and more. There is nothing like pulling a pack of corn from the freezer in January and enjoying the fresh taste of summer even though it is the middle of winter. And the corn you freeze yourself is so much tastier than anything you can buy in the freezer section or the canned aisle at the grocery store.
My husband’s parents grow lots of sweet corn and we have “corn day” usually once a summer at their place. The other week my mom in law, sister in law and I along with our kiddos tackled the job of getting 60 dozen ears of sweet corn from the field to the freezer. I’m not going to lie to you, this is a time consuming process but if you work at it with family, friends or even a neighbor it is much easier than tackling it on your own.
How To Freeze Sweet Corn
Getting corn ready for the freezer can be a very sticky process, so we do all the following steps outdoors which means the kitchen stays clean.
The first step in getting corn into your freezer is finding a place to purchase the ears of corn. The area I live in has an abundant amount of roadside stands and they are an excellent place to order the amount of sweet corn you will need for freezing. Usually at these stands you can place your order several days in advance and then just stop out and your corn is picked and ready for you to take home. If you don’t have this option, you may want to check at your local grocery store and possibly receive a discount when you purchase at least several dozen or more ears.
When selecting sweet corn to freeze you will want ears that are nicely filled out with mature kernels and the silk at the top that is brown. The corn will then need to be husked. Simply remove all the husks and place the ears in containers or tubs. Husking is something that the kids can help with. I was surprised how well my almost 5-year old daughter was at pulling the husks off. After the husks are removed, put them in large containers or boxes to be trashed or turned into compost.
Next you will want to silk the husked ears. This basically means cleaning all the little hairs off of each ear so you don’t find corn hair in the finished product. This Corn Brush makes silking easy. Or in our case we were able to rent a Corn Silker for the day. Basically it is machine with lots of brushes and the corn is feed in one end and comes out the other end totally silked. You hook a garden hose up to the machine as well and between the brushes and the water this machine does an amazing job in way, way less time than it would take to silk the corn by hand. This was another job that the kids enjoyed helping with.
Now the corn is ready to be blanched. This is done by bringing water to a boil and then placing the ears of corn in the water and bringing back to a rolling boil for about 2 minutes. You can do this step in a large kettle on your stovetop or if you prefer to do it outdoors a single burner patio stove and a turkey fryer pot make this step easy. The nice thing about using the turkey fryer pot is that you can do a much larger amount of corn at a time than you can do on a kettle on the stovetop. Also the fryer pot comes with basket that can easily be filled with corn and then just set in the pot of boiling water. If you are doing the stovetop method I recommend a tongs to put the corn in and out of the boiling water. Regardless of which method you use, fill your pot or kettle about 3/4 full of water and when it is boiling you want to fill it full of corn making sure most of the corn is submerged in the water. When one batch of corn is taken out, bring the water back to a boil again before adding more corn.
Once the corn is removed from the boiling water, it needs to be cooled down as quickly as possible to stop the cooking process. If you are doing this indoors, you can use your kitchen sink or outdoors we use large Rubbermaid containers. If you have a double bowl kitchen sink, use one side of the sink to cool the hot ears as they are coming out of the boiling water and then move the lukewarm ears to the other side of the sink to finish cooling. Ice in the water works great to cool the corn faster. The water will need to be changed frequently as the hot corn warms the water quickly.
When the ears are cooled to the touch they can be removed from the water. Now it is time to cut the corn off the cob. This can be done with a sharp knife or a corn cutter. The knife method doesn’t work very well for me as I find it hard to cut quickly without getting a lot of cob cut off with the corn. I have found this Pampered Chef Corn Kernel Cutter to be the perfect tool for cutting corn off the cob. This corn cutter is also another great cutting tool and is perfect for creaming corn. We cut the corn into dishpans and then it is ready to be bagged and placed in the freezer.
Use quart or pint Ziploc freezer bags and add the desired amount of corn. I find that 2 cups per bag is the perfect amount for our family. Make sure to remove any excess air and flatten the bags out so they can be stored easily in the freezer. We figure that 1 dozen of corn equals 2 – 3 cups cut corn. This number will vary slightly depending on the ear and kernel size as well as if you are doing whole kernel or creamed corn.
Whew! Now you are finished and all that is left to do is compost or trash the cobs and clean up the sticky mess and dream about the corn you will be enjoying during the winter months.
I would love to hear about your corn experience. Have you ever gotten a large batch of sweet corn to put up in the freezer?