Last year we got a TON of corn with our CSA. If you’ve been trying to figure out how to freeze sweet corn, don’t worry, I did all the figuring out for you! This year I got it down to a science. With the first frost we recently, it’s time to start preserving all that lovely corn we’ve been seeing at farmer’s markets. Fortunately, preserving corn in the freezer is so easy!Let me start out by saying that this post is all about freezing corn on the cob OFF the cob. I cut my corn off because I just don’t have room in my freezer to freeze bags of corn on the cob (and I actually cut my corn off the cob to eat it anyway, my husband always teases me!).
Maybe you’re saying, “But Diana, I LOVE my corn on the cob! How do I freeze corn ON the cob?” Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Follow the same steps but boil your corn for ten minutes instead of five. Skip the cutting step and put your corn into gallon bags to freeze. I suggest cutting the cobs in half so you can fit more in a bag.
Now, before you start prepping your corn, put a BIG pot of water on the stove on high heat. If I’m doing more than six ears of corn I like to use my canning pot.
The first step in preparing your corn is to shuck it. Shucking means removing the leaves and silk (the stringy part). You simply peel back the leaves and then grab the silk ends and peel them back as well. When everything is peeled to one end, grasp it firmly and break it off of the cob. I never buy whole ears of corn that have already been shucked because that outer covering helps hold in moisture so you get juicy flavorful kernels of corn.
Once your corn is shucked and your water is boiling, it’s time to blanch your corn. The reason for blanching vegetables (which means boiling for a short time) before freezing them is that you want to destroy the enzyme that will break down texture, flavor and nutrients in the frozen state. Put your corn in the pot and let it cook for five minutes. If the water has not returned to a boil within one minute of adding your corn, it means your pot is too small or you need to cook your corn in batches. You can use the same water for 3-4 batches of corn, just make sure your water level is high enough (you may need to add more) and that it is boiling before you add your corn.
While your corn is cooking, fill a BIG bowl or a pot with cold water and ice.
Once your corn has cooked long enough, it’s time to shock it in ice water. This stops the cooking process which will help the corn keep a nice texture and its bright color, unless of course you’re using white corn. You need to cool your corn for the same amount of time as you boiled it (5 minutes if you’ll be removing it from the cob, 10 minutes if you’re freezing it on the cob).
Now to cut the corn off the cob, you can simply stand it on its fat end and begin slicing, but if you have a bundt pan or angel food cake pan I find this technique is easier and less messy.
Place the pointy end of your corn into the hole of your pan, this creates a nice holding stand for you to begin slicing your corn. Even better, all the kernels of corn fall nice and neatly into your pan instead of all over the counter and floor. Don’t worry about them sticking together in little slabs of corn, they’ll come apart as you bag them.
Once you have all the kernels off the cob, put them into gallon or quart sized bags, squeeze out all the air and seal them. I like to use gallon bags filled half to three quarters full. Once I squeeze all the air out I can flatten the bag so that when it’s frozen it’s just a square 1-2 inches thick that’s really easy to slip any where in the freezer. You can also easily break off the amount you want to use when it’s not stuffed too full.
I’ll often heat up some of the corn with a little butter and pepper for a side dish, but our favorite way to use it is in Bell Pepper Corn Soup. How do you like to use frozen corn?