There’s nothing quite like fresh sweet corn on the cob in the summer… except, maybe, enjoying fresh sweet corn all year ’round! My little family is blessed to live near my aunt and uncle who raise corn. So blessed that we get to help them harvest it AND eat it! Here’s what we do…
Early in the morning, when the dew is heavy, all the worker bees head to the field to pick corn. Some do the pickin’, while others shag the full buckets to the pickup. When the pickup is full we head to the house where the real fun begins.
The shuckers and hairers (is that a word? that’s what we call them…) prepare the corn and load it into all available clean coolers, buckets, laundry baskets… whatever they can find. Inside, we start our assembly line.
1. Blanching — Boil the ears for about three minutes. Don’t forget to sort out all of the really pretty ears to eat for dinner!
2. Cooling — Take the hot ears out of the pot and immediately soak in ice cold water. This keeps the juice from splattering all over the kitchen when the kernels are cut off. Hint: We like to freeze big chunks of ice in plastic containers (sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc.) in preparation for corn harvest. Ice chunks last a lot longer than cubes.
3. Cutting– When the corn is cool, remove it from the water and let it rest in a pan while you cut kernels. We used two cutting methods. The mandoline (in the picture) is only for the most experienced, brave slicers. That thing is sharp! I prefer to rest a cob vertically on a cutting board and slice down with an electric knife. I don’t have a picture of that due to my lack of ability to use an electric knife and a camera at the same time. It takes a few cobs to really get the feel of it. You want to cut deep enough to not waste corn, but not so deep that you cut into the cob.
4. Bagging — Dump the sliced kernels into a bowl. We measure 3 cups of corn for each quart-sized bag. You can use different bag sizes, but the quart size stacks nicely in the freezer. You could also add more corn or use less in each bag, but I feel like we’re wasting bags if we use less and they don’t seem to stack as flat if we use more. And if you’re curious, we figured it takes approximately one dozen ears to get three cups of kernels, given that some ears are fuller and some are sparse.
5. Freezing — Fold the open bag over and press down to get all the air out. Then seal the bag and squish the corn around to flatten it. Now they’re ready to freeze!
Try to spread the bags out in the freezer, at least until they’re cold, because it takes too long for them to freeze when they are stacked deep. There you have it. Fresh sweet corn all year!
200 DOZEN EARS = 200 BAGS OF SWEET CORN = 2 DAYS!
For more kitchen tips, head over to Tammy’s Recipes.