How to freeze corn now and enjoy it later

Properly freezing corn this summer will mean you can enjoy these golden nuggets during winter too!

Those golden nuggets of summer are developing and filling the farm markets with goodness. Corn is a very popular summertime vegetable. Sweet corn is available in Michigan late July through September or until the first frost. One way to preserve those golden nuggets of summer is to freeze them.

Before preparing any food, Michigan State University Extension recommends you wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds.

Freezing whole kernels of corn

When freezing whole kernels of corn, select the plump ears with tender kernels and sweet milk. Forget the buggy and wormy ears. Corn should be frozen within two to six hours of harvest time. Remove the husks and silk from the ears. Blanching needs to be done to stop the enzymes that cause texture and flavor destruction.  Blanch the ears for 4 minutes in boiling water. Next, plunge the ears into ice water to stop the cooking action.  The ears should be in the ice water for about eight minutes. Drain the ears. Cut the kernels off the cob about two-thirds the depth of the kernel. 

For a cream style corn, cut the kernels in the center. Next use the back of the knife to scrape the cob, collecting all of the juice and the heart of the kernel. A tip to make this process easier: use a bundt pan to anchor the cob in the center of the pan. This will steady the cob while it is being scraped. Pack the corn into freezer containers, leaving ½ inch head space. Seal the container. Label it, putting the date of packaging on it. If plastic freezer bags are used be sure to squeeze out all of the air before freezing. For the best quality use the corn up in 8 to 12 months.

Freeze corn on the cob

To freeze corn on the cob, increase the blanching time to 7 minutes for small ears that are an inch in diameter.  For ears that are about 1.5 inches in diameter increase the blanching time to 9 minutes and for ears that are two inches in diameter increase the blanching time to 11 minutes. Immediately immerse the ears into ice water for the same length of time that they were blanched for. Drain the ears and blot them dry with paper towels. Tightly wrap the ears in moisture-vapor-proof film and put them in a plastic freezer bag. Squeeze out all the air to prevent freezer burn. Be sure to seal, label, date and freeze the ears.

Storing and freezing tip

Word to the wise, do not attempt to freeze more than 1 quart of food (2-3 pounds) per cubic foot of freezer space per day. Otherwise, the freezer will have to work too hard and it will take too long for the product to freeze.

For information on storing and preserving corn check out this resource. In those winter months, it will be a great treat to have corn on the cob, provided you prepared to preserve it properly.

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