Sunday, July 27, 2014

How to Freeze Sweet Corn

A few days ago I shared a picture on my Facebook page of a big pile of sweet corn. Every summer we purchase at least one bushel of corn to put away in the freezer for the year. Everyone gets involved, the kids love to help shuck, Josh helps me with the cooking process and then I do most of the hard work. But everyone takes part and that's what counts.

It usually takes me a couple hours from start to finish and yesterday we had spent all afternoon at the pool so I was really tired by the time I finished last night. But it's so worth it. I've currently got twelve quart sized bags filled with locally grown, non GMO sweet corn to nourish my family with during the winter months. Last year we did 18 bags and it was plenty, I'll see about adding a little bit more in the coming weeks.

Everyone has their own method, today I'm sharing what has worked for us. I'm certainly not saying it's the only way, you might have found one that works best for you. And that's totally okay. I will say, to be sure you have yourself a good, sharp knife on hand. Or if you have one of these handy gadgets, put that baby to use.

How to Freeze Sweet Corn

1. Remove all husks and silk hairs from corn. Rinse all ears in cold water, removing any remaining silk hairs or dirt.
2. Fill your largest pots with cold water, place the ears in water and let come to a boil. Boil for 6-7 minutes, then immediately remove corn and set onto a large platter to cool.
3. Using a cutting board and sharp knife, cut off kernels from each cob.
4. Dump all kernels into a large bowl, I usually add just a couple tablespoons of butter and let that melt in while I'm preparing all the ears.
5. Using a ladle, scoop corn into quart sized freezer bags. I don't exactly measure, but I assume there are at least 2 cups per bag for my family of five.
6. Remove as much air as possible from the bag before sealing shut. Make sure to label and date with contents.
7. Once the corn is completely cooled {I just let the bags sit out until I'm all finished} you may add them to your freezer. Lay them flat on top of one another for easy storage.
8. When ready to enjoy, remove from freezer and let thaw, then add to a saucepan with just a little bit of water and butter and let cook on stove top until warm. *If you're like me and always forget to thaw your corn out before dinner, just run the bag over hot water and it will become thawed.

We go through this process each and every year and have had good luck with our corn. It's really such a treat in the dead of winter to taste that little bit of summer. I hope you'll be inspired to pick up some fresh, local corn and stash a few bags in your freezer to enjoy throughout the year. You'll be glad you did!

I've also had some questions about freezing other veggies. Again, I'm not an expert, but I can share what has worked well for me.

Green Beans- Last year we had quite a few of these in our CSA, so I simply cut up my beans and added them to quart sized freezer bags. No blanching. Rinse and dry them thoroughly to prevent any ice crystals. Make sure to remove as much air as possible from the bag. I've shared this before, but I like to put a straw in the bag and suck the last bit of air out to create a vacuum seal effect.

Carrots- With carrots I slice them and then blanch in boiling water for a few minutes. Drain and let cool, then add them to freezer bags.

Zucchini- I like to grate fresh zucchini and add to freezer bags so I can bake bread and muffins in the winter.  I haven't ever tried freezing it or summer squash in any other way though.

Tomatoes- I always like to make freezer spaghetti sauce with any excess tomatoes I have on hand. It freezes really well and tastes wonderful.

Bell Peppers- Chop up green peppers and flash freeze to use in chili, sauces, etc. They do lose their crisp texture when you thaw so they're great for cooked dishes, but not so much for fresh toppings like tacos.

These are just a few vegetables I've frozen before, I know there are a lot out there but I'm still learning myself and clearly do not have all the answers. If you have any other tips or ideas, please feel free to share them in the comments below. I'm sure we'd all love to hear them!

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