If you have had a bumper crop of sweet corn during the year, chances are that you will want to preserve some of that goodness for the coming winter months. Corn on the cob, and whole kernel corn can be frozen, but many people are frustrated with the results. There are, however, certain things you can do to maintain that fresh picked flavor.
As with any vegetable that you are planning on preserving, start with the best ears of corn you can find. These should be young, tender, and fresh picked. If you grow your own, plan on freezing these the same day you pick them. If you buy them from a farmer’s market, ask if this was a crop that was picked that day.
While some people do freeze corn on the cob without blanching, the best method is still to “set the milk” by blanching the ears in boiling water. Whether you are planning on freezing the entire ear or cutting the corn off the cob, you will need to cook the corn in boiling water for a few minutes. This is not a total cooking process, only meant to set the juices in the corn. The corn should be placed in a large pot of boiling water for anywhere from 6 to 12 minutes, depending on the size of the ear. Cover the pot, and start timing.
Once the blanching process is complete, remove the corn, and put in a large bowl of ice water for around 10 minutes to cool completely and stop the cooking process. Remove the ears, place in a colander, and allow to drain well. The main complaint with frozen corn on the cob is that it becomes tasteless and mushy when cooked after freezing. By stopping the cooking process with the ice water, and draining well afterward, it retains the flavor and texture.
The best freezing method is to vacuum seal the ears, preventing any air to penetrate the bag, eliminating ice crystals and freezer burn.
If you prefer to have whole kernel corn, or even creamed corn, the kernels can be cut off the cob once they are sufficiently cooled and drained, and the kernels bagged or put in freezer containers. For creamed corn, you need to cut the corn closer to the cob, using some of the cob in the process.
Vacuum sealed corn can be kept in the freezer for well over a year and is easily prepared by simply reheating the entire bag, either by boiling for a few minutes or in the microwave.