How to easily freeze corn, and why you should

I recently spent an excellent Saturday afternoon in my house processing five dozen ears of corn. When I was done, my floor was covered in corn silk and my counter was sticky with corn juice.

It was all worth it though, because I now have a dozen or so large bags of corn in my freezer. I will enjoy them all winter long. And they will taste better than anything I could buy in a store.

Corn is one of my favorite frozen foods, and the freezing process is brutally easy. And since corn’s in season right now, you can find it cheap. Call around to farms stands or check a farmers market to see what’s available. You can search here for farms that sell corn in your area.

About the freezing process: You cannot simply freeze corn. Well, you can, but it will taste better and maintain more nutrients if you blanch it first.

Processing the corn is extremely easy. Here’s how it works.

What you’ll need

  • Fresh corn
  • Large pot for boiling water
  • Large bowl or clean sink for cooling corn
  • Sharp knife
  • Freezer bags
  • Lots of ice

What to do

1. Put on a large pot of water to boil. If you have one, a canning pot works great. You want a lot of water.

2. Strip the husks and silks off the ears of corn.

3. Drop the corn in the boiling water. Experiment with how many ears at a time your pot can manage. Ideally, you want to have the water return to a boil in about a minute. If it doesn’t, you need more water or less corn. Cover the pot to make things go faster.

4. Boil the corn for 4-6 minutes.

5. Drop the corn in a bowl of ice water. I used my sink. Replace the ice as it melts. Leave the corn in the water for as long as was boiled — 4-6 minutes.

6. Cut the kernels off the corn with a sharp knife. Simply stand the ear up on end, then slice along the ear from top to bottom. This is easier than it sounds. Your knife will easily find a spot that cuts off most of the kernel without getting the tough cob. Turn the cob until you’ve gotten all the kernels. I cut onto a cookie tray with a lip. It held the kernels in nicely.

7. Scoop the kernels, which will mostly be held together in convenient chunks, into bags. The chunks come apart easily when you cook them later. Squeeze extra air out of the bags, and then toss them in freezer. If you’re ambitious, you can even label them. Corn will last at least a year in the freezer, although mine always gets eaten long before then.

8. Cook. Since they’ve already been blanched, the kernels don’t take much cooking. You basically just need to warm them up. My favorite way to use corn is in this quinoa recipe by Mark Bittman. You can use them however you like, though.

Note: If you’d like to make use of the corn cobs, here’s another great recipe from Mark Bittman.

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