Freezing summer corn for fun & profit ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

03 August 2012

Freezing summer corn for fun & profit

fresh corn on the cob

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?

blanching fresh corn

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.

fresh corn blanched and ready to freeze

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!

corn broth with corncobs

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?


adriennefriend said...

Gorgeous post! I love to put up fresh stuff too. Any ideas for bell peppers? I'm swimming in em!

Monet said...

What a brilliant idea! I haven't been freezing summer veggies, but you have me inspired...I'm going to tackle corn this weekend. I adore cornbread during the winter so I need to get my store!

Kat said...

This is a great idea. I haven't been freezing anything yet, but this is really tempting especially since corn is so cheap now. I love that you didn't waste any part of it and made broth out of the cobs. I want to do some pickling and maybe do some preserves too before the end of summer.

Shut Up and Cook said...

I have never thought to do this but it makes such great sense. Thanks for the idea!

Joanne said...

You are pretty much a canning and freezing rockstar! I love that you made stock with the cobs. Delicious!

Stephanie said...

Oooh aren't you clever with corn broth! I bet you could use that to start a batch of corn chowder. Way to be thrifty! I've been getting 8 ears in my CSA and am doing the same thing!

Haley @ Cheap Recipe Blog said...

Love the idea of making corn broth! Less food waste for sure.

Eileen said...

Ooh, I don't know about bell peppers! I'd think they wouldn't freeze that well...anyone have good ideas? Bueller?

I'd actually never made corncob broth before, but the result is pretty amazing! I actually used the first two containers of corn broth to make a Very fresh-tasting corn risotto. Now that was well worth it. :) you guys should definitely try it!

Anonymous said...

I need to do this for corn because I swear I have let so many ears get dry because I was just waiting too long!!

carey said...

Corn broth! I love it. I did this two years ago, but I parboiled the corn while it was still on the cob. (I don't remember why I did it that way, because this makes much more sense to me.) Then I decided to use the glass cover to my pot to transfer the cobs to the counter to cool, and it shattered in a billion pieces across my entire kitchen. WHOOPSIE. : )

The hot water / breaking glass thing traumatized me a little, and I've been hesitant to try canning/preserving. But I've been buying this cauliflower that's pickled in mustard brine from the farmers' market, and it's so good that I might need to try to replicate it!