03 August 2012
Freezing summer corn for fun & profit
Corn! You can buy bags of it pre-frozen in the grocery store, of course, but where's the fun in that? And how much better does the farmer's market fresh corn taste? Why not take advantage of the abundant midsummer corn harvest to freeze your own?
So that's exactly what I did last weekend. I grabbed an armful of corn at the farmer's market, dragged it all back home, and proceeded to enhance my freezer stash.
First, I husked ten ears of white corn. Easy but annoying!
Then I cut all the corn kernels off the cobs. Usually I do this by laying the whole cob down on the cutting board, holding my knife at an angle, and using a sawing motion to slice from tip to end. This gets the kernels off the cob with minimal fuss, and without a huge corn mess spraying everywhere. If you want to hold your corn upright while you slice off the kernels, you can put the ear in a big bowl first, but why bother?
I brought a pot of water to a boil, blanched my corn kernels for about a minute, and drained them all. I used a big pasta pot with an insert so I could just lift all the corn out at once. This worked admirably.
After some time to cool, I filled my bags with beautiful fresh corn. Normally I'd spread my corn kernels out on a cookie sheet, freeze them that way (to avoid kernels sticking together), and remove the frozen kernels to a few large containers. However, I've had a box of tiny little snack-size ziplocs hanging around since the holidays, and I wanted to get them out of the way, so I decided to fill them up instead.
Ten ears' worth of corn kernels filled up nine bags, which I left open on the counter to cool completely. Afterward, I pressed the air out of the bags, sealed them, and put them in the freezer. Bonus: now I know each bag has just over one ear of corn in it. When I want to use the corn, I'll just throw a bag in a bowl of warm water to defrost & separate. Easy!
After I was done blanching corn, I had a big pot of freshly boiled corn-scented water. I also had a stack of corncobs. So, guys, are you pondering what I'm pondering?
I put the water back on the heat, dropped in a bunch of the stripped corncobs, and simmered for about 20 more minutes. Voila: a massive pot of fresh corn broth!
The resulting broth filled eight 2-cup containers, which I left to cool on the countertop. It's important to fully cool broth before you lid and freeze it; otherwise it'll start to ferment. A few hours of waiting took care of that problem. Then they went into the freezer too.
So about one hour of effort gave me a full supply of delicious corn and broth. Hooray!
Then I proceeded to sauce & can 12 pounds of tomatoes, but that's another story.
What vegetables do you guys freeze in summer? Do any of you go the pressure canner route instead?