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In the category of summer vegetables there is nothing that quite satisfies like corn on the cob. Maybe its the fact that it arrives when the sweetness of summer is just starting to wane and you really want to hold onto it. Maybe it is just. that. good.
Popping a bag of fresh corn out of the freezer in mid-winter is like opening up a bag of summer preserved for the time when you most need it. It seriously tastes like it came right off the cob, whether you roast it, add it to corn chowder, or saute it up to put on a fresh salad.
Our local farm market always has a corn sale toward late August so we race on over there and by two or three dozen ears and spend that evening processing and freezing to create a winter stock.
There are lots of theories about how to freeze corn - on the cob or off, blanched or raw, or some combination of the above. Here's why we prefer the traditional method you'll find in most preserving books - blanched on the cob, cut off, and then frozen in vacuumed sealed bags.
A. Corn can be frozen on the cob, but when cooked it often ends up watery and mushy, which just isn't as fun as eating it off the cob in the middle of August.
B. Corn that is frozen raw can be used later, BUT it doesn't retain is fresh flavor quite as well and can even lose nutritional value.
This University of Minnesota Extension article describes very well the enzymes that exist in fresh vegetables and how they need to be inactivated in order to prevent negative changes like flavor loss, color change, and loss of nutrients. Blanches deactivates those enzymes.
So, given that argument, here's how we freeze our corn. Oh, and be sure to freeze as soon after harvesting as possible to avoid the corn going downhill (also explained in the article above).
Step 1: Remove the cobs from their husks, clean off as much silk as possible, and cut off any damaged areas.
Step 2: Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large stock pot. Working in batches, steam the corn on the cob for about 4-6 minutes with a lid on the pot (you can also boil for 3 minutes, but I prefer steaming because I think it keeps from getting more water added in the process).
Step 3: Cool the corn by laying it out on a single layer on baking racks.
Step 4: Cut the corn off of the cob. We prefer the "Bundt Pan Method" for this process - stick the pointy end of the ear into the hold in the middle of your bundt pan then cut off one side at a time, allowing the kernels to fall into the pan. It really does work! But you can also just use a cutting board or cut into a large bowl.
Step 5: Put the corn into vacuum seal bags or resealable freezer bags and remove the air before sealing (if you don't have a vacuum sealer you can try the straw method where you close the bag most of the way then suck the air out with a straw before quickly sealing). I usually put one handful per family member into the bag to estimate the amount needed for a dinner.
Step 6: Date your bags and throw them in the freezer to enjoy later!