Preserving Corn

Freezing ~ Drying ~ Grinding

corn growing in the fields

 



Fresh Sweet corn is always the best. Canned and frozen corn simply can not match the crisp sweet tastiness of corn straight off the cob.

In a perfect World, every day is Sunday and every season is summer, suitable for fresh corn on the cob. Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect World.

If you followed our guidelines and mother nature cooperated chances are you have an abundance of sweet corn - you'll want to preserve some for winter use.

Freezing Corn

It is best to preserve corn within a few hours of harvest. This is not always possible, but it is best. Select the highest quality ears of corn. They should be at peak maturity, not over ripe and not immature. If you are canning them using a heat treatment or pressure canner be aware that sweeter varieties of corn will frequently turn brown. This is due to the excess sugars being caramelized by the heat.

Preparation

Husk the ears and remove the silk. Remove any damaged. immature or malformed kernels.

Trim off the lower ends of the cobs which more often than not host smaller lower quality kernels. Thoroughly wash the ears.

Blanch the ears of corn in boiling water for about 3 minutes give or take a nano second. This helps to set the kernels milk and eliminate unwanted bacteria. Remove them from the boiling water and drop them directly in cold water. If you are blanching any significant quantity you may want need to change the water several times as it will heat up exponentially with the hot cobs placed in it.

When the ears of corn are adequately cooled down cut the kernels from the cob at about 3/4 of the depth of kernel. You'll want to leave a small nub attatched to the cob.

Place in freezer containers be they bags or boxes. If using hard plastic such as Tupperware leave about 1/2 inch of head space. If using freezer bags be certain to squeeze out any air pockets. Label and store for future use..

To Freeze whole cobs of Corn

Blanch the smaller ears of corn in boiling water for 6-7 minutes give or take a nano second.

Medium sized ears 9 - 10 minutes

Large Ears for slightly over 10 minutes - very slightly.

Remove them from the boiling water and drop them directly in cold water. If you are blanching any significant quantity you may want need to change the water several times as it will heat up exponentially with the hot cobs placed in it.

Be sure you've trimmed off the narrow lower end - it will blanch and freeze at a differing rate and also contains lower quality produce.

Freezer bags are best for storing whole cob frozen corn. Other containers will work but the bags work best. Be sure to squeeze out any air pockets and label them with date before storing in the freezer.

Canning sweet corn is not something I recommend to a novice. Canned corn spoils quite frequently before it is tapped for use and the results are not nearly as good a store bought canned corn - not worth the effort.


Drying Sweet Corn

Drying Sweet Corn is another time tested method of preserving sweet corn for winter use. Select the corn in the same fashion as you would for freezing. Husk it and remove any damaged kernels. Remove the silk - but don't worry if some is still clinging to the cob - it will come off in the blanching and drying process.

Blanch the corn cobs in boiling water for 2 - 2 1/2 minutes. Drain and cut the kernels off the cobs.

Corn Recipes

Spread the kernels on trays for sun drying. If mother nature cooperates dry them for 2-3 days in the sun, bringing the trays indoors at night or in inclement wet weather.

To oven dry them set the trays in a preheated oven at 110 - 120 F. Rotate and stir them occasionally to help ensure uniform drying - but try not to overlap them.

Once they are shriveled and hard they are dry. To rehydrate them - cook in boilng water when ready for use. One part of dried kernels per 2 parts water - should take 40 -45 minutes. The corn should be plump and tender when finished - almost as if they were never dehydrated.



Grinding Corn

Late-season varieties of corn are suitable for grinding once they've been dried.

You do not have to be in a hurry to harvest the ears you plan on grinding, leave the ears on the stalk until after the first fall frost. This gives them the opportunity to fully mature.

In snow free climates - you can leave the corn on the stalk throughout the winter and let it dry up along with the stalk, although the chance of the varmints or even fungus getting at it before you do are greater in this scenario.

Harvest the corn, husk it, remove any silk that falls off freely and place the ears in burlap or mesh bags. Some people prefer to braid the ears together, in much the same fashion as the decorative corn that adorns homes around the Fall Holidays.

What ever method you choose, hang them in a cool dry location for a few months to thoroughly dry out.






You can also use kernels dried in the method described under drying corn on this page for for grinding.

Either a manual or electric mill will suffice to grind corn [ See - Grain Mills for Home Use ]. Grind it ahead of time and store, or grind it as you need it for the best quality and flavor.


cracked corn

Coarsely ground corn can be used for 'crack corn' - and uh - NO - You do not smoke it - It's Crack CORN. Jimmy Crack corn and used it for a delicious breakfast cereal, and you can too. More finely ground corn can be used for corn flour and corn starch but this gets fairly involved as it needs to be "wet ground" to remove the hull as well.

Speaking of Crack - have you ever tried "Crackles", they are ultra thin chips - similar to tortillas.

Cornmeal pancakes, are another item that can be made from ground corn.


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