Corn, to “put up” or freeze, is a time-consuming vegetable. There are several stages to the process so each ear has to be handled for every step. I have a young family of 4 so it’s not terribly difficult for me and am able to get the process done in a single morning. If you are freezing for more than 4, two of which don’t eat much, it can take a couple of days or at least one day sun up to sun down.
It’s best to pick the corn the same day you are processing it. If you can’t, it’s not the end of the world, I just wouldn’t enter it into any corn competitions. For me, this means being in the cornfield by 6am. I would much (and I can’t emphasis this enough) rather do the work in the morning than afternoon or night.
After the picking, the next step is the husking. Kids are pretty good help for this job, but you might have to remind them a time or two to take off all the silks.
Now it’s inside for cooking and cooling. This is the step or steps where you have to be on your toes not leaving any batch too long in the cooking or too long in the cooling tub. Quick in, quick out. Cooking times vary depending on who you talk to. I say the less time the better. I didn’t leave any batch in the cooking water for more than 5 min. After cooking, very quickly move them into the cooling tub to stop the cooking process. When your cooling tub water starts to get warm, empty it and fill it with cold water again.
Now that the quick work is done, the following steps are cutting and bagging. This takes time and a little practice. When I was young, grandpa was in charge of cutting. Cutting takes the most experience. There are fancy tools out there to help you with this, but just a plain old knife works also. When you are cutting you have to find that spot with your knife where you are not cutting to deep into the area where the kernel meets the cob. Also, you don’t want to cut too shallow where you are wasting corn or have to go back for second cuttings. Like I said, it takes practice and I am not great at it, but I’m getting better.
Cutting and bagging the corn are the messiest steps and plan on having to wipe down most of your kitchen when you are done. Bag as you cut, and use a measuring cup to get your corn into the bags. Quart size bags are good to use. This year I used quart sized bags, but only filled them up about halfway. I have found over the years, that it is easier to pull out 2 bags if you need extra than to have more in one bag than what you wanted and will ultimately get forgotten in the refrigerator and wasted. When you have all your bags filled, or in my case half filled, get them into the freezer and use them as needed through out the year.
Freezing corn is worth the trouble. There are a few vegetables that are worth the trouble of growing and putting up yourself and corn is one of them. We did not grow our own sweet corn, but have neighbors who do and do a very good job. Despite the growing conditions we had this year, this sweet corn was really very good because it was irrigated. If you are buying sweet corn this year, and live in the midwest, beware! Ask if it’s been irrigated and if it hasn’t don’t pay premium price for it. Most growers are honest about the product they are selling and have their corn discounted this year.
The Farm Wife