Tricounty News

Enjoy sweet corn for all seasons

By Debbie Botzek-Linn, U of M Extension

Freezing is a quick and convenient way to preserve vegetables at home, and sweet corn is a popular, easy vegetable to freeze. If you have the freezer space, corn is an excellent vegetable to store frozen.

If you harvest corn, do it early in the morning before it gets hot. Husk ears and remove silk, then bring six to eight quarts of water to a boil and submerge several ears at a time. Blanch the ears for four minutes. Cool promptly in ice water, drain and cut the kernels from the cob.

An electric knife is a handy tool for cutting off the kernels. Package the corn in freezer containers, leaving one-half inch headspace.Ê Seal and freeze at 0¡F or below for best quality.

Blanching, followed by chilling in ice water, are critical processes for producing quality frozen corn, contrary to statements in some publications on home freezing. The natural enzymes in corn need to be inactivated before freezing to prevent loss of color and nutrients, and flavor and texture changes. These enzymes are inactivated by a hot blanch treatment. The chilling process prevents the corn from becoming mushy due to overcooking the starch.

During sweet corn season, we get questions on freezing corn on the cob. Yes, it can be done, but with mixed results. Corn lovers are often disappointed with the mushy, rubbery texture and the cobby taste. It also takes up more space in the freezer.

You can enjoy the great taste of summertime sweet corn all year long by following the simple, basic procedures for freezing vegetables.