In the Garden with Celeste: Freezing Corn
In this blog, we are going to explore many various opportunities to raise and preserve our own or locally grown food. Today, let's talk about freezing corn!
Food safety has become a hot button issue—spinach scares and ground turkey contamination are asking us to take a closer look at where our food is produced, by whom and, perhaps most importantly, how. The very best way to have control over the items we consume is either to grow them ourselves or get to know the farmer who does. Eventually, we will look at planting, weeding, watering, canning, drying, fermenting and root cellaring. Today we’ll begin to discover the process of freezing. Our product of choice: corn.
Wouldn’t it be divine if we could have truly sweet, summertime corn at our fingertips the year round? Well, we can! By spending a few short hours, we can preserve the ultimate sweet corn for use in soups, stews and stir fries (or as a scrumptious side) all year long.
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. Corn also 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.
Here’s what I do:
I arrive at my local, organic farm when or slightly after it opens. I buy two and a half dozen ears and bring them home. Immediately, I put a large pot of water on the stove to boil. While waiting for this to happen, I shuck the corn placing the ears on a large tray. I also get out several trays of ice depositing the cubes in an insulated container. Quart 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.
Once the water boils, I use tongs to deposit six ears into the water and begin the timer which is set at three minutes. I fill the large bowl half with 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 toss them into the cold.
Once the corn has cooled, I use a sharp knife to cut the kernels from the cobs into a bowl. I then spoon them into a freezer bag (generally 3 or 4 ears to a quart), pat them flat (so 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.
You can use ¼ of the bag, or ½ or the whole thing. Doing this twice a summer gives me about 16 quarts which is plenty for my use during the winter. Enjoy!