How to Freeze Corn

Treat your family to the fresh-picked flavor of corn on the cob—all year long. It’s not hard to freeze this summertime favorite.

Intercropping Lettuce and Corn in Grid Pattern

Intercropping Lettuce and Corn in Grid Pattern

Photo by: DK - Gardening Step by Step © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Gardening Step by Step , 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Corn on the cob isn’t just a summer vegetable—you can savor this treat at any meal when you learn how to freeze corn. Imagine serving this cherished flavor with your holiday turkey or St. Patrick’s Day entrée. It’s not only possible, but easy. Freezing corn involves simple steps that allow every member of the family to pitch in at some point. It’s a great way to introduce kids to food preservation.

Freezing fresh corn is done one of two ways: on the cob or off. Freezing corn on the cob follows the same steps as freezing the kernels, except you’ll be freezing whole cobs of corn. Cobs occupy far more freezer space, so keep that in mind. Corn frozen on the cob sometimes develops a cobby flavor or becomes mushy.

To freeze corn off the cob, you need to remove kernels from cobs. You can buy special gadgets for this task, but you probably have two items that make the job simple and snappy: a bundt pan and an electric knife. Use the bundt pan to support ears as you remove kernels by slipping the small end of the cob into the hole in the pan. Cut kernels collect neatly in the pan. Many people also de-kernel cobs on a cookie sheet.

An electric knife de-kernels cobs in record time and offers an easy-to-use option for arthritic hands. Simply grab the cob by the small end and slowly rotate it as you run the electric knife down its length. For whole kernel corn, cut kernels to about two-thirds their depth. For cream-style corn, cut kernels to about one-half their depth and scrape the cobs using the back of a knife. This motion removes the heart and juice from each kernel.

Whether you’re freezing corn on the cob or off, you’ll get the best flavor if you use corn within two to six hours of picking. One bushel of corn on the cob yields 12 to 22 pints of whole-kernel or cream- style frozen corn. If you’re freezing in quart-size containers, you’ll get roughly half that amount.

Some people freeze corn on the cob in the husk, but that has no impact on flavor or keeping quality. For freezing whole kernel or cream-style corn, remove husks, silks, and any worms or blemished spots. Removing husks is a spot where kids can help. Blanching is the secret to preserving the freshest, sweetest, longest-lasting frozen corn. 

Blanch both whole-kernel and cream-style corn four to six minutes. Blanch whole cobs based on cob diameter: small ears (1.25-inch or less diameter) for 7 minutes; medium ears (1.25- to 1.5-inch diameter) for 9 minutes; large ears (over 1.5-inch diameter) for 11 minutes. After heating, cool for the same amount of time.

De-kernel cobs after cooling. Packing corn into serving-size portions is another point where youngsters can pitch in. If using rigid freezer containers, leave one-half inch head space. With flexible zipper bags, remove as much air as possible. A vacuum sealer system yields the best long-term storage results.

Freezing corn on the cob without blanching is possible, and it’s not harmful to eat that corn. Skip blanching if you know you’ll eat frozen corn within two or three months. For longer storage, blanch.

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