Freeze your summer sweet corn on the cob or off for enjoyment throughout the year.
If you discovered some particularly tasty sweet corn this season, either in your own garden or at a farmers’ market, you might consider gathering more of it to preserve for those long, winter months ahead. It’s easy to freeze corn—on the cob or off—and tastes far better than any frozen corn trucked in from distant corners of the world.
To prepare sweet corn for freezing:
- Shuck corn, and clean off all the silk.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Blanch the corn by dropping the whole cobs in the boiling water for five minutes, then remove corn and plunge into a pot of cold water.
- Pat the ears dry with an absorbent towel.
To freeze corn on the cob:
- Place corn cobs in freezer-proof, resealable bags in a single layer.
- Label bags with source of corn and the date, and place them in the freezer.
To freeze corn off the cob:
- Once the blanched corn cob cools, cut the kernels off the cob with a sharp knife or a corn-cob cutter. (You can find these handy gadgets in kitchen stores and online for about $4.)
- Place corn kernels in freezer-proof, resealable bags.
- Label bags with source of corn and the date and place in freezer, flattened as much as possible to reserve freezer space.
To reheat frozen corn—on or off the cob: Place corn in boiling water for two to three minutes.
If you want to preserve your sweet corn for later use, but are running low on freezer space, dehydrating is always an option. Dehydrating is a great way to savor the flavors of corn and other fruits and vegetables, like beans, peas, apples and apricots, throughout the year, whether you decide to add them to soups and stews or munch on them as snacks. Foods can be dehydrated in the oven, outside in the sunshine or in an electric food dehydrator.
A number of electric food dehydrators are available on the market today, with prices starting at around $100. These units consist of four to eight shallow, stacked trays and come with recipes on drying a variety of foods. Some units come with timers and accessories such as “fruit leather sheets,” for use in making homemade “fruit roll-ups.”
You can also make your own dehydrator using solar energy! The most basic design is a “hot box,” in which food is enclosed and protected in a box with a clear cover. Screened holes in the bottom and sides help ensure the air circulation needed for drying. Eben Fodor details instructions for building solar dryers in his book, The Solar Food Dryer: How to Make and Use Your Own High-Performance, Sun-Powered Food Dehydrator (New Society Publishers, 2006).