Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Sweet Corn Tutorial - Preppin' For Winter

All throughout the summer, sweet corn proves to be an all-American favorite, but the window of opportunity to get your corn on the cob eatin' in is quickly ending. 

But don't worry.  The party doesn't have to end!...

The deliciousness that all those sweet little kernels brings to the table can be transformed into something just as tasty as it once was your last BBQ.

So let's preserve the party!  Freeze your corn and I'm certain it will be a hit with your guests during holiday dinners, and will make the perfect addition to any comfort food (like mashed potatoes...mmm....).

On some of my earlier posts I've shared pictures of our garden which included a few rows of sweet corn.  We usually plant more, but this year we made more room for pumpkins for the kiddo.  After our first round of harvesting and freezing the corn from our garden, we decided that would not nearly be enough for the family members and friends we often share with.  So we made the decision to visit one of local farm markets, McMaster Farms, in Columbiana, Ohio.  Talk about amazing. 

If you're not familiar with freezing corn for the winter months, make sure you ask for "seconds."  Don't turn your nose up at this yet, because there's nothing wrong with it.  Seconds may have a bruise or a discoloration here or there, but it's perfect for freezing, and will save you a couple bucks (at least) for every dozen you get.  Just a few days ago, we bought 10 dozen.  As a matter of fact, McMaster's seconds looked exactly like FIRSTS!

Once you manage to get your giant bags of corn home, the work begins.  Now I have to admit, we had the troops out to help, so if you're going to attempt to do this your first time with about 10 dozen ears, recruit some help for yourself.  It's not entirely necessary, but the whole process will go much more quickly if you do.   Husking the corn proved to be quick with four people husking.  The next picture will show you what "seconds" look like when you buy them.

Once all the corn is husked, you're going to want to get a large pot of water boiling.  In the meantime, sanitize a tub with some bleach water and rinse it out thoroughly.  Fill it about halfway with water, and then the rest with ice.  An important part of freezing corn is blanching it first (boiling then immediately stop the cooking with ice water).  At our place, we don't mess around.  We use our handy dandy turkey fryer for nearly all our canning processes.  It saves on the electric bill from not using the electric stove, keeps the heat out of the house,  performs  much faster, and that large stock pot can fit a LOT of ears in all at once (and the pressure canner also fits right inside that ring).  Of course, use caution.  Do NOT use the turkey fryer inside your house or have it outside too close to your house.  Here's a picture of our set up:

Once your water has come to a boil, drop your corn in.  Once the water comes back up to a boil, set your timer for three minutes.  Boil away!

After three minutes, with your largest pair of tongs, grab the corn and quickly put it in your ice water.  This will stop the corn from cooking anymore, and seals in that flavor we're so fond of.  Let the cobs clear pretty well all the way though.  If you pick up a cob and after a few seconds can feel it getting warm in your hand, the center is still warm and it needs to polar plunge once more.

So much excitement can come to a screeching halt while waiting for the corn to cool.  So I easily found amusement in the cat laying on the dog's frisbee just to make him mad.   See?

Okay, okay!  The corn has cooled off.  Back to work!

Once you've plucked your corn from the ice water, let's bring it inside where you'll be cutting the kernels from the cobs.  Here's a picture of our set up in the kitchen.

It's a relatively simple set up. Lay down some newspaper, grab a few pots to catch all your corn, and put your corn cutters on top of the pots.  You'll notice two are yellow ones and the one farthest in the back (left side) of the picture is wooden.  We recommend the plastic ones - there is less friction than a wooden cutter when you slide your cob over the blades in the center of the cutter and will speed up the cutting process.  Grab an ear of corn and slide it forward and back again over the blades on the cutter while rotating it.  Your corn should look something like this:

There are a couple of ways of cutting corn.  Some people prefer the entire kernel intact, and others prefer it creamed like we do.  I find it easier to digest, and easier to eat.  However you can adjust the blades on the cutters to cut the hull off entirely.

With a few rounds of boiling, blanching, and cutting, 10 dozen ears of corn yielded about 51 cups of creamed corn.  We package 3 cups of corn in a Ziploc bag and freeze them on a cookie sheet so they'll stay flat while they are freezing, and then store away in the freezer until we're ready to add it to a meal.  Enjoy!

Of course you may have a different way of preparing your corn, and that's great - I'd like you to share by leaving me a comment!

Also, McMaster Farms LLC is located on 345 Old Fourteen, Columbiana, Ohio 44408.  Thanks for the lovely corn - we'll definitely be back for more produce!  And to all my readers, remember to buy local!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lindsey!
    Just wanted to drop by and say I enjoy reading your entries! Very informative. Keeping busy! Thank you for your posts.