By Patricia Zick @PCZick
Missing from my gardening book is anything about sweet corn. This year as I prepared to freeze corn, I went directly to my Kindle and opened From Seed to Garden. But I didn’t have a thing in there about God’s greatest gift to summer in northern climates. Corn on the cob is the pièce de résistance for any summertime picnic or barbecue.
However, we decided when we moved to our house three years ago not to put in a sweet corn patch. My husband, Robert, has grown corn in the past, but he spent much of his summers trying to outsmart the raccoons that only bother a garden for its corn. They aren’t dissuaded easily. I think Robert hit his breaking point the summer he rigged a radio in his fenced garden and left it blaring all night long. Those corn-scavengers still found a way into the patch.
It’s also a lot of work to grow corn, and it takes up a large chunk of the garden. We leave that to the farmers and buy corn from a nearby farm, the farmer’s market, or local groceries selling local food. We’ve been sampling all the area’s corn since the beginning of August. None of the ears did what they should do when fresh and plump with juices and natural sugars.
If you’ve ever eaten fresh corn on the cob, you know what I mean. It’s the taste that makes me “yum-yum” all over the place. I close my eyes, juice and butter dripping on my chin, and I say, “I could eat this every night.”
This year we haven’t had that moment. The corn isn’t bad; I’d classify it as “good.” We haven’t once closed our eyes and moaned in culinary delight.
Now it’s mid-September, and we don’t have any corn put in the freezer for winter. Earlier this week, we finally decided to take what we could, so we called the local farmer and asked for a bag of ears – approximately five dozen – at the cost of $25. We also bought a few ears from a local market we passed on the way home today. The new corn was about the same as what we’ve tasted this summer.
Here’s the process for freezing corn kernels and corn on the cob. Both must be blanched before freezing and take about the same time. While Robert husked, I started working in the kitchen.
- Several large pots/bowls
- freezer bags or freezer containers – quart size for kernels and galloon size for whole ears
- sharp knife
- Fill a large pot of water (I use a 12-quart pot) and start it boiling
- Fill a large bowl with cold water halfway – later put ice in the water
- Put six ears of corn at a time in the boiling water for six minutes
- Immediately remove to the ice water bath bowl for another six minutes
- Place ears of corn (3 or 4) in a gallon freezer bag and date the bag
- Holding the ear of corn upright on a cutting board, slice the kernels from the cob
- Place kernels in quart-size freezer bags – quantity is based on your family’s needs
- Make sure all bags/containers are dated and place in freezer to enjoy during the cold winter months
The corn tastes great when thawed out – nothing at all like the frozen corn from the grocery store. Even if this year’s corn didn’t make us stop and rhapsodize about its quality, we’ll still enjoy the thirty bags of kernels and six bags of ears we put in the freezer last night.