I really like sweet corn, but most of my corn comes ripe around the same time, so I can only eat so much fresh. The rest, I think blanching and freezing is the easiest and best way to preserve that sweet corn taste.
1. Pick your sweet corn at the proper time, not too late, and not too early. The best time to pick the corn is when the silk on top of the corn husk is brown and dry.
Ready to Pick Not Ready Yet
2. There’s an old saying that, “You can walk down to pick your corn, but you better run back to preserve it.” So, I would recommend preserving your corn as soon as possible, and even putting it in the refrigerator, or a cooler in the interim while you are shucking or preparing to preserve.
3. Shuck your corn. You may find some corn worms, but if you do, simply remove them and break off any bad parts. They are usually not too bad.
4. Get a large pot of water and bring to a boil.
5. Add whole corn cobs to the pot, and boil for 5 minutes. Try not to overfill the pot, as it will slow the boil down too much. If it takes more than a minute for your pot to return to a boil after adding your corn cobs, then you put too many in. Start counting the time after your pot returns to a boil. This boiling or blanching will destroy the enzymes in the corn that will degrade the corn. This is absolutely imperative if you are storing for more than a month or two.
6. After the corn is blanched, immediately plunge the corn into an ice bath for 5 minutes. This will cool the corn, and prevent overcooking.
7. You can freeze corn on the cob whole, but it is much more efficient to cut the kernels off the cob, as it saves tons of space in the freezer, and is easier to eat later. I use a special tool to cut the kernels off, but a sharp knife will do.
8. Spoon the corn into freezer zip-lock bags, or food saver vacuum pack bags. I am a big fan of the vacuum pack bags. If you are using zip-lock bags, it is a good idea to take a straw and suck the excess air out before sealing. If you are using vacuum pack bags, you may need to put the corn in the bags, and put the bags of corn in the freezer unsealed overnight. Then vacuum and seal them after the corn is frozen. This will prevent the corn liquid from being sucked into the vacuum and preventing a good seal. I did not do this last batch, but I did have two bags that didn’t seal properly. I just put a zip-lock bag over the unsealed bags.
~ Phil Williams
Phil Williams is a permaculture consultant and designer and creator of the website foodproduction101.com. His website provides useful, timely information for the experienced or beginning gardener, landscaper, or permaculturalist. Phil's personal goals are to build soil, restore and regenerate degraded landscapes, grow and raise an abundance of healthy food of great variety, design and install resilient permaculture gardens in the most efficient manner possible, and teach others along the way.