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Blanche!

August 31, 2011

We are no doubt in the sweet spot of sweet corn season. On days like this, it’s not hard to fathom that the inevitable onset of no fresh, local produce winter is getting closer every day. It is clearly getting closer (as evidenced by necessity of sweatshirts and jeans in the ever cooling evenings) every day. In a nod to being good ants (instead of carefree grasshoppers), we stocked up for winter last weekend. At Carmen’s suggestion, instead of gorging on ear after ear of Peter & Carmen’s amazing sweet corn, we blanched a couple dozen ears, cut off the kernels, ziplocked a bundle of double-serving sizes and popped them in the freezer. It’s a dance I remember mom doing throughout my childhood (though more often for beans), and it couldn’t be easier.

guidelines after the jump…

how to freeze corn

  • Husk all of the farm fresh corn you can get your hands on, taking care to get as much of the silk off as possible
  • In the biggest pot you have (we used the canner), bring water to a full, rolling boil (do NOT salt the water. Blanching in salted water will make for sad, mushy veggies). If your pot isn’t particularly big, do the blanching in batches. It’s important that the water not take too long to come back to a boil after you put the corn in. In that case, you can do a number of batches in the same blanching water – no need to start with a fresh pot of water for each batch.
  • Add the corn, cover the pot & set the timer for 7 minutes* (do not wait for the corn to come back up to a boil first)
  • Prep the sink (or another large pot/bowl) with ice water
  • After the 7 minutes are up, transfer the corn to the ice bath & set the timer for another 7 minutes*

  • Using a sharp knife, slice off the kernels. The easiest way we’ve found to handle this phase of the prep is using an angel food pan. The hole in the middle serves as a great resting place for each ear as you’re working on it, and the actual pan is a perfect sliced-off-corn catcher.

  • After the kernels have been cut off every cob, you’re ready to prep for the freezer. As we don’t have a vacuum sealer, plain ol’ ziplock bags are put to use. (you can use a straw & lung-power to suck out excess air before sealing to give them extra protection against freezer burn.)
* A note about blanching and ice bath times: It all depends on the sweetness and size of the corn you have. Since the ears we were dealing with were relatively small and very sweet, we went with Carmen’s recommendation of 7 minutes. If your ears are larger (or less sweet), I’ve seen the suggested time increase to between 9 and 11 minutes. If you’re in doubt, ask the farmer you’re getting your corn from what their rule of thumb is. I’ve found they are a better reference source than even ‘the google’ when it comes to how to prepare the food they grow.
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