In the Garden with Celeste: Freezing Corn

Aug 15, 2017
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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!


About This Blog

Celeste Longacre has been growing virtually all of her family’s vegetables for the entire year for over 30 years. She cans, she freezes, she dries, she ferments & she root cellars. She also has chickens. Celeste has also enjoyed a longtime relationship with The Old Farmer’s Almanac as their astrologer and gardens by the Moon. Her new book, “Celeste’s Garden Delights,” is now available! Celeste Longacre does a lot of teaching out of her home and garden in the summer. Visit her web site at for details.

Reader Comments

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Something a little different

We'd get several hands to help when it was time to put up corn. We have two of the LEM style corn cutters that we've had as long as I can remember, and I'm in my 60's! We would put up 52 quart bags of corn per family, thinking that would get us through the year. Of course it did and then some. We worked at a pretty good pace and moving that much corn from water pots, on the stove, to the corn cutters often made for a watery mess.

A friend told us of a method that they used and so we gave it a try. We would load the dish washer down with corn that was shucked, with silk removed and run it through a wash cycle. It's quick and you can get a lot of corn in a dish washer. It comes out pretty hot, but not a lot of water dripping everywhere. We'd cut the corn off the cob as fast as we could, bag it, and then cool it down. We've put up a lot of corn this way and it taste great long after the crop is gone.

Hi CDT, I don’t have a

Hi CDT, I don’t have a dishwasher so I can’t try this method. It does sound interesting, though!

save time; cook later!

I don't see the need to cook the corn before freezing. I love making a corn chowder in the middle of the winter with a big ol' back of corn I cut off the cob and froze as is. YUM.

Freezing corn

I had so much corn in the last weeks of the season last year (2016) that I just placed two corn cobs, still in the husks, per large freezer bag, sealed it tightly with no air and froze it. I ate corn all through the winter and through this summer! I just take them out of the freezer, place individual husks in the microwave, still frozen, and through experimentation, found that 5-8 minutes on high was just the perfect time for perfect eating corn on the cob! Crisp and delicious just as if I took them right off the stalk!

After microwaving, I use the technique of cutting off the base of the husk about 1/2 an inch above the base of the cob (feel for it but be careful you don't burn your fingers) and then grab the silk top, with a pot holder, and shake out the cob silk free. Slab on some butter and a light sprinkling of salt and wow is it good. That technique is available to watch on youtube.

Freezing corn

This post is all wrong NEVER get your corn wet! Shuck it, keep it dry, bag it and stick it in the freezer. Then it will not be mushy when you thaw it. This is the way my Indiana family has taught me to freeze corn, the way they have done it for decades and it works. We just finished eating the last of the 2016 corn crop and it was as tasty as the day it was harvested!

Freezing corn

Anyone tried putting corn in microwave for a minute or so then taking off cob and freezing? Or taking off cob first nuking it then freezing?wouldn't that be same as boiling water?sure wouldn't steam up the kitchen.would appreciate some comments on this

Freezing corn

I have frozen sweet corn for many years. When I was young I blanched it and it took most of the day. When I became older, I started cutting it off and putting it right in the bag (vac sealer) . It tasted so fresh. The secret is to not let any water touch it. Brush it and scrub it good (dry). It's so sweet and creamy it doesn't need anything but maybe a little salt later on when you eat it. We grow our own, so no pesticides or fertilizer. This way has saved an awful lot of time and trouble and a hot kitchen!

I have been freezing corn for

I have been freezing corn for many years. I cut it off the cob first. My recipe calls for 4 qts of corn, 4 teaspoons salt, 1/4 cup sugar and 2 cups of water. Cook for 10 minutes and cool. After it cools I package and freeze on cookie sheets. Then I can put packages in a bigger bag which keeps it all in one place in the freezer.

Hi Marlene, Sounds great!

Hi Marlene,

Sounds great!

So after readingall the

So after readingall the questions and comments:can I freeze corn on its cob?I have a vac. machine that I put dehydrated things etc. in and they come out how do I cook and vac.the air out for freezing?

Hi Melanie, You can put the

Hi Melanie,

You can put the whole cob in the freezer, but it takes up a lot of room.

I live in Iowa, am a farmer,

I live in Iowa, am a farmer, and have been freezing corn for over 50 years. I freeze over 100 quarts every summer. There is no reason to cook the whole ear. Cut it off the cob, then cook and freeze. This takes less time and ice to cool.

When cutting the corn off the

When cutting the corn off the cob to blanch, how long do you blanch it before putting in ice water? Is it for the 3 minutes?
I didn't know if that would cook faster than being on the cob.
Thank you!

Hi Mary, Your method sounds

Hi Mary,

Your method sounds delightful, but I wonder if you lose nutrients when you cook it in the water that way.

i have a methoid i tryed last

i have a methoid i tryed last year, i clean the husks off the ears and then just put them in freezer bags and freeze, we're still eating this corn this summer and it 's like fresh picked....

Hi Gertrude, Yes, corn can be

Hi Gertrude,
Yes, corn can be frozen with its cob. Some folks prefer to do it this way, but it takes up a lot more room in the freezer. Since I like to freeze many things for the winter, I take it off and make sure that the bags lie flat so that I can stack them.

Can Corn be Frozen for Winter

Can Corn be Frozen for Winter Use with its Cob??? Why and where for???

I want to try this, but I

I want to try this, but I wanted to make cream corn...I had it once with philadelphia cream cheese in it....could I just add it to the corn after I put it in the freezer bag?

Hi Horsecrazy I wouldn't just

Hi Horsecrazy
I wouldn't just add it to the corn after putting it in the freezer bag. Maybe you could add it to the corn when you get it out to eat it.

what about freezing the whole

what about freezing the whole unshucked cob?

Hi Fred, I wouldn't freeze

Hi Fred,
I wouldn't freeze the whole unshucked cob. There are some organisms that live on vegetables which need to be steamed or boiled off before freezing.Otherwise, it can damage your harvested crop.

Freezing Unshucked Cobs

Would the organisms die off if the unshucked corn were wrapped in aluminum & cooked over a grill?

every year we buy 5 to 6 ears

every year we buy 5 to 6 ears of corn....I shuck them put them in freezer bags....then thru the winter I just take them out cook and serve they are just as fresh tasting as when just bought and cooked.....

My method of freezing corn on

My method of freezing corn on the cob is a little labor intensive but it works great.
Blanch corn on the cob.
Cool in ice water.
Dry with clean towel or paper towels.
Wrap in seran or cling wrap.
Vaccum pack.
When ready drop the whole thing in boiling water. The corn will finish cooking in its own juices.
Try it, youll like it


A much better way than I learned. Early at the harvest and quick to the freezing process must capture the perfect freshness before the sugar begins. Love the straw idea for removing air!

Her new blog

I love this blog. I freeze corn on the cob. But this time I'm going to do this your way! I am looking forward to more articles from you!!!!

freezing corn

I have prepared corn the way you describe. This year my neighbor used the vac bags to put up her corn. She said she washed the corn and just cut it right off the cob. Then she puts it into one of those bags, pulls out the air and seals it. Have you heard anything about this method?

No, I don't know anything

No, I don't know anything about that.


Thanks Celeste! I remember canning and freezing with my Gramie when I was young girl. We had a freezer full of everything we grew..and jars of pickles, chow chow, stewed tomamto's.....bit I also remember when we cooked the frozen corn on the cob...sometimes it would have a really weird taste...sort of fishy...could you comment on what the problem might have been??? Can corn on the cob ever taste really good freezing it? Thanks for this blog....I'll be looking here often!

Hi Pamster, I don't know why

Hi Pamster,
I don't know why the corn you froze with your Gramie had a weird taste. Maybe she put the whole cob in the freezer with the corn still on it? My corn is always delicious!

Do you think it may have been

Do you think it may have been freezer burned or absorbed the taste or smell from frozen fish?


I was never aware that each corn silk belongs to a corn kernel. Cool!

Happy blogging!

I didn't know this either -

I didn't know this either - and I grew up in Iowa, and have lived in Indiana for many years. Thanks for posting!

thank you!

I am not into corn but am looking forward to more options and discussion.

Congratulations on your new Section of OFA

Congratulations CELESTE on your new Blog part of OFA. Looks like we're off to a great start. Any Ideas on Canning the 'Corn-on the -cob'? My Greatgrandmother used to do it and keep it in the 'root-celler'. I've got the same problem she had no freezer space. Also you could maybe throw in an idea or two about 'Root cellers in the desert. [Think I'm kidding- i'm not I live in Arizona. Not impossible but I'm sure a lot of work] God bless you & keep up the good work.

Hi James, Just figured out

Hi James, Just figured out how to do this. My next blog is on canning tomatoes plus. With corn, you either need a pressure canner or have to process it for a really long time (4 hours?). Don't know about a root cellar in the desert. Ours depends upon the cold climate here.

We canned corn this season,

We canned corn this season, just a few weeks ago, actually and we followed the Ball Blue Book recipe. You blanch it, cool it and cut from the cob as if you were freezing but instead of freezer bags put it in pints or quarts, whichever you prefer. There is enough liquid from cutting that you do not need to add anything. You can add salt or not and then process for, I think it was, 55 mins. The Blue Book tells the exact timing. It's a wonderful thing....the corn and the book! I prefer it frozen and he likes it canned, the texture and the taste is slightly different but very good both ways! Good luck....

I'm so sorry, even after

I'm so sorry, even after reviewing, I forgot to say that it does have to be a pressure canner, as suggested by Celeste, just not for as long as she questioned. It is a little more time consuming than freezing but some prefer it like this. I'll take the frozen any day.....

Great info

I am very much interested in locally grown foods and preservation technology, Thanks Celeste!

I will be following this

I will be following this blog! :-)

love corn

I love corn everything--corn on the cob, polenta, you name it. I have a lot of corn from our local CSA and will have to try this because I can't eat it all at once (though I'll try!) Thanks for this post.

great blog

I'm really interested in homesteading. Have lots of corn and didn't even know about freezing. Thanks. Look forward to your updates.


+ a 4-season guide to raising chickens!


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