Do you want to preserve fresh corn for a winter’s stash? Here are some tips on how to prepare corn for the freezer, and a recipe for soup stock made with the leftover cobs.
If you grow corn, it is a great idea to preserve your harvest. Those golden kernels are indeed like gold. You want to enjoy it more than a few weeks of the year, so you want to preserve the freshness of this summer crop. I wouldn’t recommend buying fresh organic corn to preserve, unless you find a really good deal in your region. Fresh organic corn goes for a dollar or more per ear in Maryland, so it may be more cost effective to buy frozen corn at the food coop as needed and focus preserving efforts elsewhere. But if you grow corn, it is a great idea to preserve your harvest!
After you stash away a couple weeks’ worth to eat fresh, it is time to preserve some of the harvest for later. Mine holds for a couple weeks in refrigeration, but tucking it away should happen as soon as possible.
I like to freeze my corn. I freeze corn off the cob in small portions, blanching and freezing it in two cup portions in Ziploc bags. Blanch for two minutes or until the water begins to boil again. Try to avoid over-boiling or you will overcook and toughen your corn.
I used a serrated knife and sliced kernels off the cob, but I will probably buy a kernel slicer if we are going to grow lots of corn each year. It is a little tricky to cut the kernels just right so as not to take on the chewy husk or waste part of the kernel. So the blade of the kernel slicer will guide me and speed up the process.
Pressure canning corn is a great way to preserve corn. I am told the texture of the corn is not as nice as frozen corn, but canned jars sit nicely on the shelf with all your other preserves and save freezer space. Also, you don’t have to blanch the corn first. You cannot use a water bath canner for corn. Water bath canning is only for acidic produce or recipes with plenty of vinegar, like pickles.
I will toss my bags of corn into minestrone soup all winter long. I like turkey chowder with corn. My son likes frozen corn as a snack. A bowl of hot corn makes a quick side dish, heated up and served with butter.
After cutting kernels off the cobs…what will you do with all those cobs? Add about a dozen corn cobs to a stock pot of water, bring to a boil then lower to a simmer uncovered for several hours. You will make a corn broth to use as a soup stock base. And what about all the rest of the cobs? My chickens love to peck clean all the extra cobs.
The variety I grew this year is called Luscious. See another blog I wrote about corn: Growing Corn Early
Photos by Ilene White Freedman.Ilene White Freedman operates House in the Woods organic CSA farm with her husband, Phil, in Frederick, Maryland. The Freedmans are one of six 2013 Mother Earth News Homesteaders of the Year. Ilene blogs about making things from scratch, putting up the harvest, gardening and farm life at MOTHER EARTH NEWS and House in the Woods, easy to follow from our Facebook Page. For more about the farm, go to House in the Woods.
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