Okay, so you got your hands on a bunch of fresh picked corn, still in the husks. Now what? Well, other than enjoying them right away, you can either can them, or freeze them.
This time around, I chose to freeze what we got the other day when we all went corn picking in a local farmer’s field. It’s much quicker and easier than canning. Although, canning does hold that advantage of storing food without the use of electricity.
Freezing is a quick and easy way to preserve your own corn at home. You will be able to enjoy the fresh tastes of summer all year long by following a few simple steps.
Freezing corn isn’t as easy as simply cutting it off the cob and packing it up, though. There are a few steps you need to take if you want to do it right. Let me walk you through them.
How To Freeze Corn – Blanching Method
First step, round up some helpers. Kids especially LOVE shucking corn! Jada’s thing is finding the worms. It’s like a treasure hunt for her. (Yes, there are worms in there!)
Even the littlest can help! No, just kidding. Hey, how’d you get that corn, anyways?
Set your station up. Throw the corn husks into a container to compost (or feed the pig!), save the corn silk for herbal remedies.
Pick the worms out. (I told you there were worms. You didn’t believe me, did you?!)
Cut the tip off, along with any bad parts.
Break off the stem.
And line up your nice, clean corn for the next step: Blanching.
Blanching is a good idea for several reasons, and it’s the method that I prefer for freezing my corn. It’s helpful in preserving the corn for longterm storage.
When you blanch your corn even for just 4 minutes, you inactivate the natural enzymes that are found in the corn, which prevents the loss of both nutrients and color. It can also help protect the texture of your corn.
While blanching is not required if you are going to use your frozen corn for something that doesn’t need that special corn crunch – like cornbread or corn chowder – I recommend blanching for all other purposes.
Otherwise, you’ll find that the corn because mushy and discolored after being stored in the freezer.
You’ll need a pot of boiling water, and a pot of ice cold water, with lots of ice cubes. It’s also handy to have a pair of tongs on hand, to get the corn out of the hot water easily.
Once your water is boiling, put as many ears of corn as you can fit into the pot and keep it boiling. Start your time, you wanna let it boil for about 4-6 minutes.
When the timer goes off, immediately plunge the hot corn cobs into the ice cold water. Let them sit and cool for the same amount of time, 4-6 minutes. You’ll have to keep adding more ice to the pot as you go.
The ice bath is just as important as the blanching. The process of chilling prevents the corn from softening and losing its crisp texture when you cook it.
Rotate the next batch through, letting the cooled corn drain to the side until it’s all blanched.
Next, using a good knife, cut the corn off of the cob, as closely to the cob as possible. It’s best to cut with the smaller end up.
Be warned – this process is messy! You might want to use a large cookie sheet or some baking trays to catch the kernels that will fly everywhere. You’ll also get juice everywhere, so wait to clean up until you’re totally done freezing your corn.
Once all of your corn is cut, you’re ready to fill some freezer bags. I always use a straw to vacuum seal the bags whenever I freeze anything in Ziplocs. Label and date, and there you go!
You can also use a vacuum sealer to seal your bags of corn. Just keep in mind that it will suck a lot of juice from the kernels, making it difficult for your sealer to function properly and to get a good seal.
If you are struggling with this problem, try freezing your corn first with the bag unsealed, wait a few hours, and then use your vacuum sealer.
Here’s an additional option – you can freeze the individual kernels so they don’t stick together in one big mess, too. To do this, you will want to place the corn onto a tray and put it in the freezer for twelve hours. Then remove the tray and scrape the frozen kernels into containers.
Want cream-style corn? All you need to do is follow the steps above, but add one more. After you’ve scraped the kernels off the cob, run your knife along the cob again. This will remove extra pulp and juice. You can put this juice into the same containers that you use to freeze your corn.
Finally, you can also make a brine for your sweet corn before you freeze it. Simply mix together a brine with water, sugar, and salt, heat it until dissolved, then add the brine to your Ziploc bags. Your frozen corn will be ready to eat immediately upon thawing!
How to Freeze Corn Without Blanching
Blanching is only done to preserve the taste and texture of your corn and offers no food preservation benefits. It is not required for safety. In fact, if you eat your frozen corn within a few weeks, you likely won’t be able to tell whether it has been blanched or not. It will start to lose flavor after a few months.
Keep in mind that if your hesitations to blanch have to do with the fact that you already cut the kernels off the cob, you can blanch after they’ve been cut, too. It will just be a bit messier.
Otherwise, if you really want to stick to your guns and forgo blanching altogether, it can be done. Simply follow the same steps you would follow for the blanching method described above –but of course, skip the blanching, ice bath, and cooling steps.
How to Freeze Corn While Still on the Cob & In Husks
You can even freeze corn while it’s still right on the cob. Most people have mixed results with this. Some report that it has a woody, rubbery, or even mushy taste and texture, while others don’t like doing this while it takes up more room in the freezer.
You can freeze your corn on the cob either after it’s been husked or while it’s still in the husks. It’s up to you. If you freeze without the husks, simply husk and blanch the corn cobs using the same methods as described above.
After the ears of corn have drained and cooled, you can wrap them individually in plastic wrap. Place each individual corn cob in a gallon freezer bag. Label and freeze.
There’s really no benefit of freezing corn directly in the husk, except that some people find this a quicker method of preserving their corn. It literally takes just a few minutes. However, the cobs won’t be quite as easy to use in recipes and can be a bit chewy.
Alternatives to Freezing Corn
When stored correctly, your frozen corn will last for eight to twelve months in the freezer. Try to use up your frozen corn in no more than a year for best flavor.
If you decide not to freeze your corn, remember that you can always preserve it by canning, too. It can even be dehydrated and rehydrated for later use, although I’ve never given this method a try.
And what to do with all those leftover cobs? Here’s an idea – feed them to your pigs or chickens! They will love these tasty treats, and then you won’t have to let them go to waste. You can always compost them, too.
updated 02/07/2020 by Rebekah White
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.