August 23, 2011

Freezing Sweet Corn

In Iowa, fresh-from-the-garden sweet corn has a fairly short availability season.  I had recently noticed that local yields were starting to taper, and figured I'd better get to work if I wanted to be able to enjoy corn this winter.  I don't have a pressure canner (and the smooth-top stove I have, nice as it is, won't work with a pressure canner), so I knew that freezing was my only choice.

Finished product.  Indescribable satisfaction!

A few weeks ago, one of my choir members and I were talking about preserving corn.  Barb said she always started with uncooked corn kernels.  That meant no blanching, no cooling the hot corn on the cob, no (inevitable) burning of my fingers while holding the not-quite-cooled ears of corn.  I was intrigued.  

I had a dozen ears of corn from the CSA, but I wanted to make the effort worthwhile, so Saturday morning I went to the Knoxville's farmer's market and bought another 3 dozen+ ears, at just 3 dollars a dozen! It's mostly been $5 a dozen this year, so I was pleased with the price.  Still, I politely asked if I could have a discount, since I was buying a larger quantity.  Instead of getting a price adjustment, I got 8-10 more ears of corn thrown in for free.  It never hurts to ask!

Barb's Freezer Sweet Corn

16 cups corn cut off the cob (about 2 dozen ears)
scant 2/3 cup sugar
4 teaspoons salt
4 cups water

1.  Husk the corn and remove the cornsilk, using a brush as necessary.

2.  Cut raw kernels from cobs, discard cobs.
We used 9 x 13 glass baking dishes to keep the kernels from flying everywhere.
 3.  Place corn in 8 quart stock pot/Dutch oven.  Add sugar, salt, and water and mix well.  Bring to a boil and cook for four minutes.

4.  Cool corn completely. 

Two batches, ready for the refrigerator cool-down.

5.  When cool, place in freezer bags.  Label, freeze, and enjoy later!

Barb said she mostly packaged her corn in 2-3 cup portions.  I used quart-sized resealable freezer bags, and put 2 cups in each bag.  Then I folded the top over to squeeze most of the air out of the bag, and sealed it.  Now the fun part- I laid the closed bag flat and gently massaged the contents so that they filled the entire bag.  Then I put all the bags flat on a cookie sheet and froze them.  Doing this should maximize the number of bags I can store into the smallest possible freezer space, and make defrosting them a snap, since there's a greater surface area with thinner contents.  

Most of the air has been pressed out.
Jeffrey helped with the husking and cutting the kernels, and I was so thankful!  We ended up with a double recipe:  32 cups of corn, which translated to 16 bags. 
After the pat-down, and ready to label with today's date!

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