How to freeze corn

Corn (1)Every fall we devote a few hours to freezing some of our abundant corn crop.  It’s a fairly simple project, but after three people in two days asked me how we do this, I thought it might be worth offering a brief tutorial here.

Start by husking the corn and removing all the silks.   My kids have discovered that rubbing a dry washcloth gently on each ear assists greatly in removing the pesky silk. Then the corn needs to be blanched.  Fill the biggest pot you own about 3/4 full of water, and let the water come to a rolling boil.  Once the water is boiling,  set as many ears of corn in the pot as can be submerged, and let it cook for 3-5 minutes.  Remove the corn from the pot.

At this point the official wisdom is to immediately plunge the corn in ice water for a minute or two, to stop the cooking process.  If you only have a moderate amount of corn, no problem.  But we tend to have such ridiculous amounts to process that I run out of ice quickly, and frankly, I don’t see any problem with the corn continuing to cook for a few more minutes.   So I simply set the hot corn on the counter on a nice absorbent bath towel, and let it cool.

Corn (2)

Once it is cool enough to handle, slice the kernels off the cobs.   You can use a special doohicky if you have one, but I find that a nice sharp knife works quite well. About 6 passes of the knife down the length of the corn cob, rotating the cob a little with each pass, does a great job of removing the kernels.  You want to go deep enough to get most of the kernel, but not so deep as to cut into the sharp membrane kernel-holders stuff deep in the cob– you know, that stuff that gets stuck between your teeth if you bite too deeply into an ear of corn.

I find that it works well to cut the corn onto a cookie sheet or casserole dish, because the lip of the dish keeps the corn contained. Another option is to set each ear on the center post of a bundt pan so that the cut kernels of corn fall into the pan.  Once you have a good heap of corn cut, you can transfer it to whatever storage containers you’ll be using.

CornThink about what constitutes a reasonable amount of corn for one meal for your family.  The year I chose to use gallon size ziplocks, I regretted it.  Packaging was easy, but the quantity was just too much to use in one meal.  This year I froze some corn in 3-cup plastic containers, and the rest in sandwich size zip-top bags that hold about 2 cups of corn.   I’ll need to thaw a couple bags for a side dish for a meal for my family, or maybe just one bagful if I want to add corn to a winter soup.

Once the corn is packaged, with as much air removed from each package as possible, simply put the bags or boxes in the freezer.  You’re ready to enjoy late-summer corn goodness all year round!

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  1. i’ve enjoyed reading your blog=i’m a fairly new comer. we do produce in massive quantities,too,so i enjoy reading about your kitchen adventures. it’s nice to know that i’m not the only one who ends up feeling guilty that the kids help so much. but i guess it builds character, right? my kids should be oozing with character right about now! anyway, wanted to share an idea that we use to help with the cooling and blanching. when i know that i’m going to be doing tons of blanching, i’ll freeze the 1/2 gallon plastic milk jugs 2/3 full of water. then we just pop that in the sink, and when it’s too melted to be any good, i just grab another one out of the freezer. (i use these for camping in the cooler, too. that way when the ice melts, it doesn’t get all the food soggy and gross.)

    anywya, sorry for the blog post! i enjoy your husbands blog, too. kindred spirits and all that, dontchaknow.

  2. Thanks!! I’ve never done, but want to now!

  3. Man does that description take me back. We did corn like this when I was a kid–my job was to cut the corn off the cob. Sigh. I’m nostalgically “smelling” the canning process for stewed tomatoes right now too. You make me grin girl!
    Soon, soon for us, we’ll be “putting by”.

  4. When we cut the corn off the cob we use a bundt pan. We stand the corn on the middle and the corn falls nicely into the pan. It really seems to save on the mess.

  5. My grown daughters still tell stories about ‘putting up’ corn. It sounds like a lot of work but there are so many benefits BESIDES food in the freezer. My favorite method is the insert for my angel food cake pan in a roaster pan. It helps contain the mess and you don’t have to stop and bag as often.
    I love the dry washcloth tip. I will definitely be trying that next year.

  6. We just did corn last week, 245 quart bags to split between 5 familes. We found that the quart size bags are good if you are having people over, otherwise it is to much for our family of 4. We ended up spliting a lot of our bags into smaller so we wouldn’t have massive left overs whenever we wanted corn.

    Corn is one of the easiest ones to do, thanks for sharing your instructions!!

  7. This brings back lots of memories – I’ve done lots of corn over the years. One thing we always do is cut the kernels about 2/3 of the way down to the cob then turn the knife over and scrape down to the corncob. This gives you a creamy texture. Then when we cook the corn, add a little milk or water, butter, salt & pepper – delicious!

  8. multi-taskingmom says:

    We will be “doing” corn this weekend – much of our’s is almost ready. Love the washcloth tip we will try that this year.

    I have a vacuum sealer and recommend one for anybody doing mass quantities, or for long term storage. Thing is though, you have to partially freeze juicy stuff like corn before sealing it.

    Love your food storage tips Mary.

  9. Oh, the memories! Our family of 4 used to do up to 400 ears at a time. We did corn from sun up, to sundown. Lol! And we did it just like you.

    But when I was in highschool, my my mom found a recipe that called fot the corn to be cut off raw, blanched in a small amount of water with a cup of surgar, and we were hooked! It was delicious, and seemed to simplify the process.

    Loved your post, btw!


  10. I did it for the first time last year, yum!

  11. This is exactly like we do ours. We are part of a CSA and I have been freezing half of the corn we get every week.

  12. I’m going to have to try this! My boys love fresh corn.

  13. We have done this a few times and used an angel food cake pan. The hole in the middle is a great base to hold the cob while cutting off the corn. And the deep pan holds alot of corn.

  14. Here is how we did it for years, 1000 ears in one day for refrence. we have a corn cutter, its a board with a cutting blade in the middle and you slide the corn across it. we would start out with my dad and the boys gathering the corn, he would cut the ends off my mom and i would shuck and get the hairs off, (we all helped with this) then a friend of moms would begin cutting it off in to a dishpan in the sink. after she had the dish pan full she would then pour it into corning ware bowls the biggest we had that would fit in the microwave and then blanch it in there. once it was ready it would go in the other side of the sink that was full of ice, into a soup pot and then fill the cornig ware bowl again. after it had cooled enough i would hold the bags open while she poured it in. yes you can seal a bag before freezing, you kinda fold and squeeze it until the liquid is right at the small opening that you leave in the corner and then seal. lay bags flat to freeze. they can be stacked.

  15. I put a ton of cobs into a pillow case, twist the top of the case & let it hang over the top a bit & then put it in the pot. After 5 min, I pull it out all at once inside the pillow case. Works great.

    I do have a corn doohickey. I had hubs take a thick piece of wood & have a nail sticking up out of it. I stick the cob on & slice away. Takes seconds. Love it.


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