Enjoy Fresh Corn All Year Long!
By Jeff Nowak, Digital Editor
I caught a cute photo on my Facebook feed the other day that basically summed it up—a toddler sitting in a high chair, cob of corn smashed happily into his mouth, with the caption: “Mmm…corn. It’s that time of the year.” Of course, it included one of those animated smiley faces at the end.
Amen! The sweet season of corn is always a treat. Summertime meals are better than ever when buttery ears of corn on the cob are served. Slathered with butter. Sprinkled with salt. Bursting with flavor at every bite. Mmmmm….corn! Wouldn’t it be great if we could enjoy fresh corn all year long?
The awesome news—you can! Our family has perfected the technique of preserving fresh corn. A simple summer kitchen project that everyone can help with when the crop is at its peak, here’s our step-by-step tutorial:
WHAT YOU NEED:
Large canning kettle
Bulk corn, fresh-picked
Large mixing bowl
BAKER’S SECRET® ESSENTIALS RECTANGULAR ROASTER
BAKER’S SECRET® ESSENTIALS FLUTED BUNDT TUBE PAN
CHICAGO CUTLERY® CHEF’S OR UTILITY KNIFE
SNAPWARE® TOTAL SOLUTION™ FOOD STORAGE CONTAINERS
WHAT TO DO:
Find your favorite. If you’re taking time to freeze your own corn, make sure it’s the good stuff! Find a local roadside stand or hit the farmers market for the sweetest bushels. Our family can’t get enough of the bicolor sweet corn here in Minnesota.
- MONEY-SAVING SECRET: Once you locate a farmer that sells awesome fresh-picked corn, call or stop by the day before and order a burlap sack for the next day. You’ll get the freshest pick possible, and typically get a favorable price break when you buy it by the sack. Just be sure to ask!
Work fast to keep it fresh. The sooner you prep your corn, the better it preserves. If you let it sit, it will break down and start to lose its sweetness. For best results, plan to pack the corn within a few hours of purchasing it.
- FRESH PREP TIP: We’ve found it easiest to set aside a “freezer day.” Make sure to clear out the freezer a few days before so you have room. After we pick up our burlap sack, we head straight home and get right to work.
Fill a large kettle with water. Once home, fill a large pot three quarters full with water. No additives (like salt) are needed, just fresh water. Turn the stove on high and put a lid on the pot. You’ll have plenty of time to work on Step 4, husking the corn, while the water comes to a rolling boil.
- WHAT WORKS BEST: We prefer to use a large canning kettle, which conveniently fits about 12 ears of corn. If you don’t have a canning kettle, use the largest pot you have in your kitchen and boil the corn in smaller batches.
Peel and clean your corn. Remove the husks and silk from the corn. Invite everyone in your family to help. This is a job just about everyone can do—even younger kids enjoy peeling the layers.
- EASY STACK AND TRANSPORT: Place the peeled ears in a BAKER’S SECRET® ESSENTIALS RECTANGULAR ROASTER. Because it fits more than a dozen ears at once, you’ll be able to easily tote an entire batch of ready-to-boil corn from the peeling station to the stove.
Blanch in boiling water. Carefully place 7 to 12 ears into the boiling water to cook. This step is important, as it preserves the taste and sweetness, making that fresh flavor last long after the corn is frozen. Set a kitchen timer and cook for 4 to 7 minutes. The corn is done when a fork tine easily pierces a kernel with just a slight resistance.
- GOOD TO KNOW: You can reuse the same water for up to five batches of corn, but add tap water occasionally to replace water that evaporates.
Plunge into an ice bath. When time expires, remove the corn with a long-handled kitchen tongs and place into a large ice-water bath for immediate cooling. Let the ears sit for approximately the same amount of time as the blanching.
- COOL HINT: Purchase a few large bags of ice for this project. It makes it a lot easier to cool the corn quickly.
Slice and save. Place the tip of a cooled cob into the center of a BAKER’S SECRET® ESSENTIALS FLUTED BUNDT TUBE PAN so it stands up vertically. Carefully slice the corn from the cob with a very sharp knife, like the CHICAGO CUTLERY® CHEF’S OR UTILITY KNIFE, removing about two-thirds of the kernel. The bundt pan will catch the loose kernels as they fall. When the pan is full of corn, empty into a large mixing bowl.
- STORE MORE: Each ear of corn produces about 3/4 cup of cut kernels. Once the bundt pan is filled, transfer the corn to a large bowl like the PYREX® SMART ESSENTIALS® 4-QT GLASS MIXING BOWL W/ RED PLASTIC LID. It’s great for big batches, with room to hold 16 to 20 cut ears of corn. And, the designated cutting doesn’t have to slow down production.
Seal and freeze. Spoon the fresh-cut corn into airtight containers for freezing. Our choice is the SNAPWARE® TOTAL SOLUTION™ FOOD STORAGE CONTAINERS because it allows us to fill various sizes: The 6-cup plastic Total Solution container is perfect for serving corn as a side dish with any meal; 4-cup containers are great for serving corn with tacos; and the 1-cup containers store individual servings, which we love to pack in brown-bag lunches.
- FREEZER TIP: Fill each container to the top so there isn’t any air in the container, preventing freezer burn.
9. Enjoy Anytime! Reheat the corn in the microwave or on the stovetop. When properly prepared and stored, your fresh-frozen corn will last for up to 12 months. For maximum freshness, store it in the back of the freezer and enjoy within the first 3 months.
- FRESH HINT: Drizzle a small amount of whole milk over your corn before reheating. The creamy milk fats bring out the fresh-off-the-cob flavor.
Try These Corn Classics!
Looking for a few new ideas to cook with frozen corn? These three recipes are must-try originals—perfect for parties, potlucks or lazy family Saturdays. The only thing guaranteed to make these recipes more delicious than they already are is…your fresh-frozen corn!
- Mix up a quick, fresh salad tonight with this bright and tasty Mexican Corn and Black Bean Salad.
- Forget scalloped potatoes. This Cheesy Scalloped Corn is bound to become the side dish everyone begs you to bring to dinner parties.
- Deliciously creamy, with a crave-worthy combination of flavors. Make this Baked Artichoke, Shrimp and Corn Spread anytime you need a crowd-pleasing appetizer.