Summer garden season is here which means two things; if you took the time to build a garden on a budget, you may have an overabundance of fresh sweet corn or if you don’t have your own garden, you’ll be able to find amazing deals on fresh sweet corn at the stores and farmers markets. No matter where you get your sweet corn from, it won’t last long if you don’t take the time to preserve it. Learning how to freeze corn is one of the best ways to do just that and it is super easy to do!
Freezing corn is a great way to preserve it for as much as 12 months if it is done correctly. If you’re looking to store it for the length of a winter, you can certainly do that with the way that I outline in this post. If you’re looking for longer periods of time, you’ll want to follow the instructions in this post up to a certain point and then dehydrate the corn. I’ll include the directions for both as we go through the post so that you know where to break off and aren’t confused. If you’re looking for good dehydrator recipes to add to your stash though, dehydrating corn is one of the best! Learning how to freeze corn isn’t hard to do, but like with any food preservation methods that you might use, make sure that you follow all safety precautions.
How to Freeze Fresh Corn for Longterm Storage
If you’re looking to store corn for longer than a year, you’ll want to take a look at freeze-dried corn. We personally stock Thrive Life freeze-dried corn. It is flavorful and tastes just as fresh as the stuff that comes out of our garden but it has a 25 year shelf life so it’s great for adding to your emergency food stockpile. Like with freeze-dried corn, frozen corn locks in the flavor and freshness with very little work. It’s a fantastic way to ensure that your family eats fresh all year long.
To get started you’ll obviously need fresh sweet corn, but you’ll also need a big pot to blanch the corn, a sharp kitchen knife and a second large pot for the ice bath. You may also want to pick up ziploc bag holders to make it easier to fill your bags and of course you’ll need freezer bags. I use a large stainless steel pot to blanch with and unless I’m doing a huge quantity like shown in my pic, I use a water bath canner for the ice bath. If you’re doing a very large amount like what was done for this post, a new blue kiddie pool that you’ve sanitized will do nicely for the ice bath as well.
To begin, get your ice bath ready with enough water to cover the ears of corn. You’ll want to use cold water and plenty of ice so that it stays cold. Then get your blanching water boiling. You may also want to set aside a tote or something to handle the waste from shucking the corn. As you can see, we had a large amount of corn so we used a blue kiddie pool for the ice bath.
Shuck all of your corn before you begin. To do this, snap off the stem then remove the leaves and any silky strings. Once your water is boiling, add the corn. To blanch something, you dip it into boiling water for 2-3 minutes then cool it quickly with an ice bath. The cook time softens the food and the ice bath stops it from cooking. Since we had such a large amount, we used an old propane burner and boiler that we had, but the process on the stove is the same. Add your corn and allow it to cook only two to three minutes.
When the corn has boiled for 2-3 minutes, remove it from the boiling water. To safely do this, I use long grilling tongs. Immediately plunge the corn into the icy water to stop it from cooking. Allow each ear of corn to cool fully then remove.
Once you’ve got all of the corn blanched and cooled, grab a pan or bowl to catch the kernels when you cut them off. As you can see, we used a bundt cake pan since the rise in the middle is perfect for sitting the ears of corn on. Starting at one end of the ear and using a sharp kitchen knife, cut the kernels off moving down the ear.
Since you blanched the corn, it should slide off the ear pretty easily. Cut as many kernels off the ear as you can. Once you’re done, use a large serving spoon to spoon the corn into your freezer bags. This is where ziploc bag holders can come in handy. They help hold the bags open so that you can use both hands to work. If you want to add salt or sugar, bring 1 cup of water to a boil and stir in 4-6 tablespoons of sugar or salt. Pour this mixture over the kernels then stir and mix very well. This isn’t a necessary step though and will affect the taste of the corn after it freezes.
If you are dehydrating your corn, don’t put it into freezer bags. Instead, once you have the kernels cut off the ears, lay them out in your dehydrator and dehydrate until they are fully dry. This could take anywhere from 6 to 12 hours depending on which food dehydrator you have.
Once you’ve got all of your bags filled, lay them flat in the freezer. They will freeze flat and make it much easier to stack. Your corn will keep up to 12 months if the bags are stored at a consistent temperature, but honestly we’ve eaten it after 2 and it tasted just as fresh as on the day we froze it.
That’s it! It’s a bit of work but it is totally worth it! Once you learn how to freeze corn, you will be able to feed your family a side that tastes like it just came out of the garden!