Golden, succulent sweet corn is one of nature’s gifts. Every summer for a few wonderful weeks it is perfect and abundant. In fact, it’s so abundant that roadside stands pop up every few blocks.
Almost every stand is a family business. Every morning at first light, those hard-working folks tromp up and down muddy rows of corn picking each ear by hand.
Mosquitos and flies love cornfields, too. Swat. Stomp. Pick. Slide. Sweat. When there’s a truckload, the harvest is driven into town to sell.
What Is The Magic That Makes THIS Corn Taste So Sweet
Each family has a “spot” where they sell their corn. They’re often on the perimeter of a business parking lot that they have negotiated long ago. Many times, they’re in the same place for years and years.
Furthermore, each family stand has steadfastly loyal customers who pledge their allegiance to their favorite vendor. Who knows, maybe it’s the terroir that makes it so good or just maybe it’s the quality of the relationship that makes it taste so sweet.
I’m completely in awe of the hard work and dedication of these amazingly hardy families. On a busy summer morning when business is brisk, there might be three generations of family efficiently working their stand like a well-oiled machine.
Let’s Get Down To The Business Of Freezing Corn
The sweet corn season is fleeting, so at our house, we enjoy it to the max for a few weeks each year. OK, I’ll be honest. We gorge on it like pigs when we can buy it fresh and locally grown, the more recently picked the better.
Still, I always like to “put up” some to enjoy during the fall and winter months. Not sure where that expression came from, but here in Nebraska “putting up corn” means freezing it to enjoy later.
It’s a simple but messy process and somewhat labor-intensive. Do it anyway! Everyone will be SO glad you did!
When you serve it at Thanksgiving dinner they’ll want to kiss you on the lips, trust me on this one. It’s light years better than the store-bought stuff and they’ll gobble it up before everything else!
This Is How To Get Sweet Corn Ready For The Freezer
I like to shuck the corn outside because it’s a messy job when you do a larger batch like this all at once. Remove as much of the silk as you can while you’re still outdoors.
This time around, I did five bags from my favorite vendor. Each bag usually contains a “farmer’s dozen” or 13 ears. It’s a much quicker process for two people if you can grab someone to help you.
Fill a big stockpot with water and start it boiling. Take corn to the sink and use a soft brush to remove the stray silks. Don’t get too carried away thinking you have to pluck every single one as if they were grey hairs. Believe me, it’s ok if some remain.
Plop six or eight ears in the boiling water and leave them in about 3 minutes, just long enough to let the kernels go from pale to golden yellow. It doesn’t need to cook, just blanch.
Blanching completes the cleaning process, stops the enzyme action that can cause it to lose flavor, makes the corn brighter, and helps retain vitamins. See how much brighter?
Silicone tongs are great for removing the hot corn from boiling water. Next, dump the hot ears into a sink full of very cold water until the ears are cool enough to handle. You will need to keep adding cold water or even a bag of ice.
Keep working a batch of 6 or 8 ears going until all the corn has been blanched. As the corn cools, the coolest ears sink to the bottom.
Grab one ear at a time, shake off the excess water and start cutting the kernels off the cob. Here’s how I do it with a serrated bread knife. It’s not as messy this way because the deep pan keeps the kernels from flying all over the place.
Some people stand the ears of corn in the center of a bundt or angel food cake pan. That works too!
When The Pan Is Full Start Bagging
Use ziploc type bags made specifically for freezing. I like to use quart size bags. Each holds about about 2-3 cups of corn. Typically a serving size of corn is 1/2 cup but who are we kidding? It’s corn. We like it. A lot!
Squeeze as much air out as you can and use a clean damp dishcloth to clear off any corn that gets in the way of the zipper. Lay flat, squish out more air. As you do, you’ll be separating the kernels,too.
Make sure the bag is zipped tight. Label each bag and lay flat in the freezer til frozen solid. Once frozen you can stand them up like slices of bread and they will not take up much room.
Each average ear will yield about 1/2 cup of corn. This batch of sixty five ears of corn became 12 quart bags of frozen corn. It will keep in the deep freeze until next summer but will still be safe to use after that. Cook it like you would “store bought” corn on the stove or in the microwave.
It’s perfect to add to chowders, casseroles, or soup, any recipe calling for whole kernel corn. Or, use it to make a killer black bean and corn salsa or corn salad using it right from the freezer. Simply defrost.
Every Kernel Of Corn Is A Miracle
Before I leave you, may I indulge in a bit of scientific nerdiness and my belief that everything is a miracle?
Each and every single kernel on one perfect ear of sweet corn has to be pollinated by the wind. One tiny grain of pollen from the tassel must travel down through one delicate strand of silk to one specific kernel to fertilize it. Over and over and over again!
So, you can see every perfect ear of corn is a triumph of creation. One ear of corn typically contains 800 kernels in 16 rows. A-maize-ing, isn’t it?
There’s definitely a reason that many Native American cultures respected the “miracle of corn” and offered prayers with its pollen. Just another reason to love corn. And life.
What’s your favorite way to eat corn? Butter or no butter? Salt or no salt?
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For years now, I freeze my corn “raw” cut off cob….so tender and full of sugar when cooked. We’re farmers with a roadside stand..
Interesting! You speak from experience! I’m discovering lots of new ideas!
Her farm corn is the best too!
It’s ALWAYS the best!❤
i was told by a farmer when we got the farmer dozen to leave the shuck and all on the ear but in a paper bag roll the top down put in freezer then when we want an ear or 2 take it out be sure to roll the bag back down it will keep for awhile that way so that is how we do corn when we get the farmer dozen
That sure sounds easy! I’ll have to try it! Thank you for sharing!
As a bonus, I cook off thee cobs after all of the corn is removed and scraped off.It makes the most flavorful broth to make soup from. Freeze it in containers.
That sounds amazing!