How To Put Up Fresh Corn In Your Freezer
Preserving the goodness of fresh corn
Why Freeze Fresh Corn?
When fresh corn becomes available in the summer, it's everywhere! If you have a garden, then you suddenly have much more corn than you can eat. Why not preserve that wonderful freshness by freezing it?
If you don't have a garden, then you've probably noticed that the price of corn in the grocery store goes way down in summer. When I start seeing corn on sale, I buy upwards of 50 ears at a time and put them up in my freezer.
I love having fresh sweet corn whenever I want it (particularly in the winter!)
It's easy to do. Here's how.
How Much Corn Should You Buy?
Here's a general rule of thumb: 25 ears of corn will equal about 10 cups of corn.
I usually buy 50 ears of corn at a time, which makes about 10 bags of corn with 2 cups of corn in each quart bag.
If you cook for 3 or 4 people, you'll probably want to put 3 full cups of corn in each bag. If you cook for a large group, then defrost 2 bags of corn for a meal.
A Quick Overview of Freezing Corn
Below, I'll give you all the details of how to do it.
In a nutshell, here's what you'll learn how to do:
* how to quickly shuck your corn
* how to pull off the silk from the ears
* how to easily cut the corn from the cobs
* how to blanch your corn
* how to put them into your freezer
I think it's a good idea to read through all of these instructions before you get started.
How To Prepare Your Corn
Go outside to the yard to shuck your corn. It's just so much easier to clean up the husks from outside than it is to clean them (and the silks) from your kitchen.
Pull the husks off of the corn, then use your fingers to remove the largest clumps of silk. Use a silk brush (you can find them at hardware stores) to clean off the smaller pieces of silk. You don't have to remove every one of them -- you'll go crazy trying to get each cob completely silk-free. Once the corn is cooked you won't see the occasional silk anyhow.
Into a large pan, cut the corn off of the cob. I use a sharp knife. Hold the cob in one hand, and slice away the kernels with your knife. Imagine that you're trying to cut off the top 2/3s of the kernels. This way you won't cut into the cob (which you don't want to do). Then run your knife along the cob to extract the the last bit of corn, and the juices. Let them run off into your pan.
How To Blanch Your Corn
Put the corn kernels and corn liquid into a heavy pot and put it onto the stove on medium-low. Because corn has a high sugar content, it *will* burn if you don't keep an eye on it.
The good news is that it will blanch in a short time. You'll know it's done when steam comes up from the corn as you stir it up from the bottom of the pot, and the corn turns a slightly deeper shade of yellow. This color change is slight, so if you're working in a very brightly lit kitchen it's easiest to use the method of detecting consistent steam as you heat the corn.
For a large pot of corn, it usually takes about 20 minutes to a half hour to get to the right temperature.
Remove the pot from the stove and place on the counter to cool. I usually stir it from the bottom every 10 minutes or so to hasten the cooling process.
Bagging and Freezing Your Corn
Once the corn has come to room temperature (it's okay if it's slightly warm) use a funnel to put 2 cups of corn into quart freezer bags. (Don't use sandwich bags, of course. They won't provide the protection the corn needs while in the freezer.)
Lay the bags on the counter, squeeze out the air, and seal.
Make a space in your freezer where the bags can lay flat. Once they're completely frozen you'll have neat packages that can be moved (and stacked) to another part of the freezer that works for you.
When I first started freezing corn, I tossed the bags willy-nilly into the freezer and ended up with these oddly-shaped bags that wouldn't stack properly, and that took up way too much room. This is why it's important to let them freeze in a cleared area of the freezer so they'll make neat packages.
The corn will last for a full year in the freezer.
Enjoy! You're going to love having the taste of fresh summer corn as close as your freezer.
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