What is the best way to preserve fresh corn on the cob?
By Doug from Derby, KS
Strip the kernels and store it in the fridge in a covered container.
Start with fresh corn on the cob, as fresh as you can get. If there is a delay between harvesting and freezing, put it in the refrigerator or put ice on it. The sugars break down quickly at room temperature.
Step 2 - Get the pots ready
Get the largest pot you have (I use my canner) filled ¾ full with hot water, put it on your largest burner (or straddle two burners) and get it heating to a full rolling boil..
Next, get a large bowl filled with ice and cold water. You may need to buy a bag or two of ice if you are planning to do more than a dozen ears of corn.
Step 3 - Husk the corn
Husk the corn and pick off as much of the silk as you can. A soft vegetable brush is the fastest and easiest way to get the remaining silk off - just don't be too rough with it.
Step 4 - Blanch the corn.
All fruits and vegetables contain enzymes that, over time, break down the destroy nutrients and change the color, flavor, and texture of food during frozen storage. Corn requires a brief heat treatment, called blanching, in boiling water or steam, to destroy the enzymes before freezing. Blanching times generally vary from one to 10 minutes, depending on the vegetable. the duration should be just long enough to stop the action of the enzymes.
Begin counting the blanching time as soon as you place the corn in the boiling water, noting that the water ought to return to a boil in a minute or less. If it takes several minutes or more to return to a boil, you are using too small a pot or adding too much corn.
Cover the kettle and boil at a high temperature for the required length of time. You may use the same blanching water several times (up to 5). Be sure to add more hot water from the tap from time to time to keep the water level at the required height.
Blanching time varies depending on the type of frozen corn you are making: cut-whole kernel, cream style or corn-on-the-cob:
Blanching times, for freezing the corn:
Whole Kernel corn, 4 to 6minutes.
Cream style corn, 4 to 6 minutes.
Note: It's my opinion that best results come from whole kernel or cream style. Personally, I don't recommend freezing it on the cob: it takes up too much space in the freezer, and gets too mushy.
Step 5 -
Cool corn immediately in ice water. Drain the corn thoroughly.
After vegetables are blanched, cool them quickly to prevent overcooking. Plunge the corn into a large quantity of ice-cold water (I keep adding more ice to it). A good rule of thumb: Cool for the same amount of time as the blanch step. For instance, if you blanch sweet corn for 7 minutes, then cool in ice water for 7 minutes.
Step 6 - Cut the kernels from the cob
Obviously, if you are freezing the corn on the cob, skip this step.
Whole Kernel Corn Cut kernels from cob about 2/3 the depth of the kernels. I hold the ear by the small end, and slide the knife down the ear. see the next photo.
Cream Style Corn Cut kernel tips about 1/2 deep and scrape the cobs with the back of a knife to remove the juice and the heart of the kernel.
Another way to prepare cream style corn for freezing is to cut and scrape the corn from the cob without blanching. Place the cut corn in a double boiler, and heat with constant stirring for about 10 minutes or until it thickens; allow to cool by placing the pan in ice water.
You don't need a special tool, just a very sharp knife!
The corn comes off in strips. As you put these in the bag, they will easily separate into separate kernels.
A number of people have written in to point out that you can use an Bundt pan or Angel Foof cake pan to hold the corn: When removing corn from the cob after blanching, just put the pointed end of the ear into the hole in the middle of a bundt pan or an angel food pan and cut. The kernels will fall nicely into the pan for easy removal.
Step 7 - Bag the corn
I love the FoodSavers (see this page for more information) with their vacuum sealing! I am not paid by them, but these things really work. If you don't have one, ziploc bags work, too, but it is hard to get as much air out of the bags. remove the air to prevent drying and freezer burn.
Step 8 - Label the bags!
"Sharpie" marking pens work well on plastic and won't rub off.
Step 9 - Done!
Pop them into the freezer, on the quick freeze shelf, if you have one!
Later, when you are ready to serve the corn, it just takes about 3 or 4 minutes in the microwave (from frozen) or in the top of a double boiler. It doesn't need to be "cooked", just heated up!
To keep your fresh corn at it's best in the refrigerator, stand the ears upright in a tall container with the cut ends in about an inch of water until you're ready to cook them.