Freezing sweet corn is the best way to have that taste of summer last into winter. I put together a guide that takes you from knowing when sweet corn is ready to be picked to placing it in your freezer for later.
When Can I pick and freeze sweet corn?
Before you can freeze sweet corn the first thing to know is that there are many varieties of corn. The type you buy or plant depends on when it is ready to be picked.
Harris seed catalog carries 85 different kinds of sweet corn seed with the growing time ranging from Catalyst maturing in 65 days to Silver Queen at 95. Here’s their link with some great info if you are thinking about growing sweet corn!
Your local area will have their favorites with many growing later corn such as Silver Queen, white corn, or perhaps even Cameo which is a bi-color. Once the corn arrives at your local farmers market or vegetable stand you will be able to get ready to freeze it. .
Buying sweet corn by the dozen is customary but when freezing you can purchase it by the bushel at a cheaper price. If you happen to be able to grow corn on the cob in your garden you need to know when it is ready to harvest.
When corn is ready to harvest, the cornsilk turns from a light blond color to a dark brown. When the cornsilk is dark brown all the way down to the husk, you can assume that the corn is ready to eat. To double-check the ripeness of the corn, pull back the husk a little bit and take a peek at the kernels.
What Supplies Do I Need to Freeze Sweet Corn?
Having all your supplies together before you begin makes the job of freezing sweet corn much easier. Below I have listed what things you will need:
1). Your bushel of corn; husked and placed in a large bowl. This will take some time so be sure to ask for help when ready to clean your corn. It makes the job go so much quicker.
2) Big pot for boiling water. The bigger the better. In fact, if you have the room on your stove 2 pots with boiling water make the job quicker! Click here & check this pot out! It comes with a strainer basket which makes it easier to remove the corn from the boiling water. Be sure to fill your pot with water and put it onto to boil early. TIP, turn on when getting ready to husk corn. It will take a while for that amount of water to come to a boil.
3) BOWLS You will need 1 big bowl for your corn once it’s cleaned and ready to cook. Another bowl is handy to place the corn in if you do not have the strainer basket for your pot. 3rd bowl is needed in your sink. This bowl will be filled with your ice water for the blanching process., (more about that step later). 4th bowl.
It‘s nice to have a bowl to put the ears of corn in once they are all done cooking/blanching. Amazon has a large selection of bowls, this one would probably work the best! This shows the size If you do not have this many bowls any type of large plastic container can work as well.
4) ICE The ice is used for the blanching process. If you have an ice maker you have got it made! If not, by thinking ahead you can freeze all the ice you need. Don’t have many ice cube trays? Just fill up plastics bowls or rinse out some yogurt containers and fill.
5) TONGS. Metal or plastics these are used to remove the corn form not only the boiling water but also the ice water.
6) TIMERS If you can using 2 timers is the easiest. We all have timers on our phones so by using this and maybe the One on the microwave you will be able to track the timing easier.
7) FREEZER BAGS. These bags come in a variety of sizes. I like to use the quart size since you can fit about 2 cups of corn in one bag. Need more for a meal just grab 2 out of your freezer. They stack easily too and take up less room than the gallon size.
8) MEASURING CUP. This is used to scoop your corn out of your bowl once it is cut off the ear. You can easily use a coffee mug too.
9) KNIFE Now this might date me but for years I used an electric knife ( wedding gift)! It cuts the kernels fast. I now use just a serrated knife. You just need to be sure it can cut the kernels. Or you can use this type of tool Here
10) ANGEL FOOD CAKE PAN No you aren’t baking dessert too! I actually use this to hold the ears in place. It makes it easier to cut then just holding in my hand. TIP be sure to have a plate under the cake pan to catch the liquid! If you don’t have this type of pan don’t worry you can still cut the kernels off!
Is Blanching the corn necessary?
According to the National Center for Home Preservation Blanching (scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short time) is a must for almost all vegetables to be frozen. It stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavor, color, and texture. Blanching cleanses the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the color and helps retard loss of vitamins.
So with this in mind, you can see it is a necessary step to take. Blanching is done before you cut the kernels off the ears to make it easier to place it in the ice water and remove it when time is up.
Cooking and Blanching the Corn
Once you have all of your supplies gathered up and you have “shucked” ( here is the definition: to remove the outer covering of (a plant, such as corn) the corn you are ready to get started.
Be sure to have your water boiling in one or both pots and place 5-6 ears of corn in the boiling water. You can add more ears as long as the water covers. Start your timer The chart below shows the approx. boiling time for sweet corn.
|Corn on the Cob|
|Small ears~ 7 min.|
Medium Ears~ 9 minutes
Large Ears~ 11 minutes
Once your timer has started you can get your sink ready for the bowl of ice water. Be sure to use a bowl that will hold the amount of corn from each batch. Pour your ice into ice water to get ready for the blanching process.
BLANCH corn once removed from boiling water for 4 minutes, no longer. I have included a great chart from NCHFP explaining the different types of blanching that foods “need.” It is a great guide to follow for freezing & blanching any type of vegetable you may have.
Now you can remove the corn from the ice water and place in another bowl. By having a helper or being very organized you can remove corn from boiling water, place in ice water and then place another batch into the pot of boiling water.
It takes some practice with 2 timers going at once but once you have your “system down” you will easily be able to get the process done rather quickly.
The ears of corn you have taken out of the ice water can sit in the bowl until the boiling/blanching steps are finished. Once the last few ears of corn have been removed from the ice water you are ready to start cutting the corn off the ears.
Cutting and Bagging the Corn
You should now have your knives/( cake pan) if using one and your freezer bags ready. This step you will be taking the knife and running down the side of each ear of corn. If using the cake pan place it like this:
As you can see the corn will fall into the cake pan. Be sure to use a towel under the pan to catch any liquid. Another option of course is to have your ear of corn in one hand and slowly cut the kernels into a bowl with your other hand. Once your bowl begins to fill up with kernels of corn you can begin to bag it up.
Have you freezer bags handy and opened up. Scoop out a 1/2 cup to 1 cup of corn at a time into the bag. Once the bag is almost full seal the top. Be sure to flatten out and remove any air that might be trapped inside the bag. If you have a sharpie handy you can date your corn.
Now you are ready to place your bags of sweet corn in the freezer. They can easily be stacked in your freezer to tale up less space.
Once winter comes around you will have a great taste of summer to pull out and just heat up in a pan or microwave. Enjoy!
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