09 September 2017

Freezer corn

"Dandelion wine. The words were summer on the tongue. The wine was summer caught and stoppered."            --Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine
For Ray Bradbury, summer was preserved in dandelion wine.  Here in Wisconsin and Minnesota, we preserve summer in freezer corn.

The first step is an early morning visit to a local farm.  They harvest at sunrise and bring it into a barn for processing.  Modern sweet corn is incredibly sweet - much more so than the strains of corn I grew up with 50-60 years ago.  And modern corn holds that sweetness longer, before the intrinsic sugars start turning into starch.  Even so, it's best to obtain, prepare, and eat the corn as soon as possible after it's harvested.  Throughout the summer we go to this farm every 3 days.


After the shank is chopped and the ear is inspected (top photo), the corn is moved to a self-serve table, and then it's first-come first-served until they run out.  The entire process is done on the honor system.  You take what you want, figure the cost from a chart on the wall (it's about 50c/ear), put your money in the open cashbox and take change if you need it.  Grocery bags are provided, but most people bring their own reusable ones.

Here's the recipe for freezer corn, which is of course a bit different from the heat-and-eat process for regular corn-on-the-cob:


The Stonemans grow a supersweet bicolor corn.  The ears were a little smaller this summer because of unusually cool temperatures during the growing season.


We process about two dozen ears for the freezer, first cutting it off the cobs out in the garage (it can be messy, with kernels and juice flying around).  Note at this point the kernels are ready to eat - and very sweet.
 

Then to the kitchen to be processed according to the directions in the third photo above.


And finally packed in Ziplock bags and stored in the freezer next to the other essential food groups...

20 comments:

  1. Nothing says summer like DiGiorno frozen pizza.

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  2. One summer when I was a kid, my family was given a big load of sweet corn, and my folks decided to freeze it. We didn't have the above recipe, we just cooked it, cleaned it off the cob, and put it in freezer containers.

    Well, the whole family was around the table helping, and suddenly my dad just got up and left. About ten minutes or so later, he returned from his basement workshop with a corncob knife. A piece of metal, sharpened, and curved to fit around a corncob. He'd stuck it into a wooden handle.

    Worked like a charm. That was my dad all over. Thanks for the memory.

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  3. My family in East Texas used to make this. Loved it. They had a special tool like a mandolin with a half moon blade they used for cutting the corn and getting the milk from the cob. Really takes me back.

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  4. I have my corn on the cob with steak sauce or bbq sauce. The tanginess and spiciness of the sauce balances nicely with the sweetness of the corn.

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  5. The sad thing is that travelers never get to eat any sweet corn because it is not on any restaurant menu. We're from Texas and generally travel to North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and neighboring states in August. We would love to order sweet corn but have never been able to find it. Sure, it is for sale in roadside stands, but we have no way to fix it.

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    1. If your motel has a microwave, that would be sufficient. Husk the outer layers, microwave a minute or two per cob (depending on the power of the microwave). Lather with butter.

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  6. I sent that recipe to a friend in Scotland. She said they very rarely see corn on the cob and if they do it has to be old because it's imported.
    I had to laugh at the healthy frozen corn under 5 frozen pizzas.

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    1. I was laughing when I took that photo, and I left it uncropped for fun. We actually use the boxed pizzas as a base, and add on bacon, garlic, oregano, mushrooms, onions, Bell peppers, olives, and Kalamata olives. The result is a fantastic pizza.

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  7. Thanks! Is freezer corn good enough that it's worth going to the supermarket and buying some ears to try? Or is the point that it's not as good as fresh corn and you only do it when you have a ton of fresh corn that will go bad otherwise?

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    1. Freezing is a way to preserve the freshness (sweetness) of the corn. Frozen fresh corn is as good as fresh corn - lacking only the tactile joy of chewing it off a cob.

      I've never bought corn cobs in a supermarket, because I have no assurance of how many days ago they were picked. I understand that modern varieties retain their sweetness for several days after picking, but since I live near farms I have no need to take a chance on store-bought corn.

      May I suggest that if you live in a city and not close to a farm, that you look for a "farmers' market" in your city and go there to get fresh produce (corn, berries, veggies). Stuff might cost a little bit more there than at Target but for fresh produce it's worth it.

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    2. My great grandpa would put the water to boil before even picking the corn. Fresh is just that much better.
      I feel the same way about apples. Picked from a tree are just so much better than from the supermarket.

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  8. I grew up with fresh corn in the Midwest but it took a trip to Brazil to realize the two most amazing uses for corn: corn juice (suco de milho verde) and ice cream! For juice, you microwave the ear briefly to get rid of the raw taste, then cut kernels off the cob. Blend with milk and a little sweetened condensed milk and serve cold.
    The ice cream you just have to find and try, it's really, really good!

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    Replies
    1. > Lather with butter.

      i never understood putting butter on corn. the mouth feel seems all wrong? maybe you needed to do that with corn 50 years ago, but the present varieties taste (and feel) just fine plain cooked.

      maybe some folks just have a need to eat melted butter? i have seen what looks half a stick smeared all over one cob.

      p.s. same goes for melted butter on lobster - why?

      I-)

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    2. 1) The butter is yummy
      2) It makes the salt stick

      I grew up with butter and salt on my Sweet corn. When I was in California some Mexican friends of mine made me try it "Mexican Style" slathered with mayo and sprinkled with hot chili powder. It was GOOD! But I still always revert to butter and salt because it is my comfort food I guess.

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  9. i tried that suggestion for putting on steak sauce or bbq sauce - THAT is okay!!!

    I-)

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  10. I would think that microwaving corn with the all the husk on would give a better result? The husk keeps in the moisture and that steams the corn? Microwaving without the husk (or very little husk) would dry out the corn?

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    1. I remove all but the innermost layer. Then I peel that down to remove the angel hair (easier to do before cooking), then replace the inner husks (to preserve moisture, as you indicate).

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  11. Sprinkle some of the freshly cut corn kernels on one of those pizzas before baking. Sounds weird but it is yummy. It's something I learned from an Iowan.

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  12. We ran out last year so this year we put up 90 pints. I think we are covered.

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    Replies
    1. I am impressed. Are you preppers? Family of 8?

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