Processing corn for winter
Last week, I was able to help my mother-in-law and sister-in-law process corn! We had such a fun day. We are a dairy farming family, and I love getting the whole gang involved! Over on some of our farm land, my husband planted quite a bit of sweet corn. We all worked together to pick it, shuck and clean it, and then prepare it for winter/freezing it.
Even if you bought corn from a local farmer's market or in bulk while it is in season, you could still easily process and freeze it by following these simple steps! Then you will have wonderful fresh corn to access ALL winter. We love having it for soups, corn bread, casseroles, or simply to warm as a side dish. I also love making Southern style creamed corn for holidays.
You can get an idea of what our fields of sweet corn look like from the pics below:
We drove over to the farm with containers in hand. Each of us picked a row and starting going down it and removing the ears of corn. I only removed the ones that looked big. After pulling off several ears, I realized the best way to remove the corn from the stalk was by twisting. This was pretty hot and dusty work! And, the ears of corn got pretty heavy after about 20 minutes of picking and filling a bag.
After we picked the corn, we headed back to my mother-in-law's to process it. First, it had to be shucked and tassels (hair like things) removed. Then it needed to go into a cooler of water to be rinsed. A bunch of grand kids pulled together for a team effort and our work went fairly quickly!
After the corn was rinsed, it went into a pot of boiling water for about 7 minutes. We had nice HUGE bowls for this (and a handy stove in my mother-in-law's garage) and fit about 20 cobs in the pots at a time.
After the corn boiled for 7 minutes, we removed it into a strainer with a big bowl under it and put back into cool water in a cooler to be blanched. See below for how we set up our work station! I bought that MASSIVE metal bowl on Amazon awhile back, and I am so glad I did! It came in handy as we removed the boiled corn from the cold water and began cutting it off the cob.
My mother-in-law had this great life hack of putting the cob in the middle of a bundt pan. It was so easy to hold the cob in place and remove the corn. We also had two cake pans that folks were cutting into. After we had filled that HUGE bowl pictured above, we had one person mixing up all the kernels (separating ones that had come off in chunks into individual kernels). Once that was done, we used a 2.5 cup measuring cup to dip into the giant bowl of corn. It was time to bag!
You can see that big measuring cup in the picture above. One person would dip the measuring cup into the bowl of corn and then we would place the Ziploc bag on top of the measuring cup (like a hat). After that, we would flip the bag and the measuring cup so that the corn fell into the bag easily...MUCH easier than trying to wrangle the corn from the measuring cup into the bag.
Once a bag was filled, we let out any excess air and pressed it down flat. Once we had several bags filled, we headed over to the deep freeze to let the bags get frozen!
I am not sure exactly how many ears we processed, but it was enough that each of us walked away with around 25 quart size bags of corn for our freezers! We celebrated by eating lunch together. I would definitely do this yearly if possible. Not only does it provide the family with a very frugal and tasty treat, but I love the idea of family traditions like work days, a very fun family bonding activity!