Monday, July 19, 2010

Save That Sweet Corn!

Summer is short - very short. Fortunately, summer is still with us. Sweet corn is finally in season, and now it's time to get kernels in your teeth and butter all over your face. Dig in while you can. But wait, how about digging in now AND later?! The frozen corn in the grocery store just can't compete with our Indiana ears, so let's preserve this amazing summer food.

Get some fresh ears. The fresher the better. If you can, preserve the same day that the corn has been picked. You'll be so happy you did. I'm partial to our Indiana corn and very partial to My Dad's Sweet Corn from Tipton. If you can find this family business at a farmers market, you'll see how popular they are. Folks LINE UP for this stuff. It's like crack on a cob.

Shuck your ears. Try to get most of the silks off, and trim all of the "tails" as short as possible - shorter than pictured so they'll fit better in your hot pot and cold bowl.

Get the biggest pot you own and fill it with hot water. Let it get up to a rolling boil and keep it there. Put 3 to 4 ears in at a time. Depending on the size of the ears, let them cook for 5 to 7 minutes.

Take them out of the hot water and place them into an ice bath for the same amount of time. This photo is a "what not to do" photo. I should have had a bigger cold bowl. If you don't have a giant bowl, just use your kitchen sink and fill it with ice and cold water. I also needed WAY more ice. Those hot ears turned the water warm within seconds. Keep working in batches until all of your corn is blanched and cooled completely.

Now you can cut the corn from the cob. Don't forget to scrape the cob to get the little bits off.

Break the kernels apart and spread them thinly on a tray and put in the freezer. After the kernels are completely frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag.

You might be wondering why even go through all of the cooking steps. Why can't I just cut it off the cob and freeze it? Well, the fresh ears contain enzymes that will break down the sugary goodness inside the kernels. The blanching process kills off the enzymes allowing us to preserve that amazing sweet flavor and crisp texture.

Just think, when it's cold and lifeless outside, you can be inside reminiscing about summer and munching on sweet, delicious corn. Now what to do with your corn this winter: put it in a soup/stew, in a salad, in a pot pie, on a pizza - seriously, put it on a pizza. The possibilities are endless! Enjoy!


  1. You are so smart! I love learning about food science from you.

  2. Helpful tip: use a serrated knife or even an electric knife to cut the corn from the cob - works beautifully!