Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Biggest Eating Treat of Summer

Is there any vegetable that is more delicious than fresh corn on the cob?  We’ve never grown  our own on Locust Hill.  We get the sweetest corn grown in the Northwest Corner from the Fords in exchange for letting them use our pastures for their heifers each summer and.cut, bale and take away our hay. 

Not many people grow enough corn to freeze a batch for winter eating.  It takes up too much space in a backyard vegetable garden.  Most farm stands, however, will give you an extremely reasonable price when you ask for a bushel for freezing, especially if you offer to pick it yourself.  And I’m about to describe to you the fastest, easiest way to freeze it. If we get a killer frost before you get around to getting your corn, just tuck this column away for next year. 

Speed is the secret  to producing sweet, melt-in-your-mouth winter corn – from plot to pot to freezer.  For this job a corn scraper is essential.  I recommend Burpee’s Corn Cutter and Creamer.

It first slits the kernels and then scrapes them off the cob.  But even this stainless steel beauty is useless without something to support it.   Below is the simple box that Hank made for the job.  It has a lip at the  bottom to overhang the kitchen counter, and a top that holds the cutter in place.  The box is high enough so that a bowl can be slipped in the open side to catch the cut corn. 

This may  look a little complicated,  but believe me, if you’re about to freeze 20 or more pints of cut corn without spending all day in a steamy kitchen, it’s worth it.  Which reminds me - make sure you get a large fan to help keep you cool while you're working.

Next you need a large pot and cover with a rack in the bottom and filled with an inch of boiling water in which to steam the corn.  Below are pictured two cob holders made of hardware cloth that  take 5 ears, 3 on the bottom, two on top. Improvise with coat hangers if you don’t have hardware cloth.

Fill the sink with cold water and ice cubes. Steam the first 5 ears for about 5 minutes, then dump them in the cold water and put the next 5 ears in the pot to steam.   When the cooked corn is cool, dry it on folded dish towels, then cut the kernels  - CAREFULLY!  as the cutter is sharp.  Fill the freezer bags and replace the bowl beneath the cutter (Very easy to forget!)

I know this all sounds pretty complicated, but once you’re into the rhythm, you’ll find that all these steps take about the same five minutes as the steaming process.  And believe me, the corn you’ve frozen for winter eating will be melt in your mouth delicious!

A word of warning.  Don’t put off the job of cleaning up no matter how tired you are.  Corn turns to glue if left to its own devices.  Washing tools, counters and floor right away will save lots of agony.     

1 comment:

  1. What a clever box your guy made. This is the first summer we haven't put up bushels of corn in the freezer. We use the gizmo to scrape the kernels off and just pop the bags in the freezer. Our neighbor used to give us corn from his Canaan fields, but none this year. May have to get out and buy some. We don't cook it first (we do it the way they did in Georgia where my guy grew up .... uncooked, frozen, but ready for corn pudding, creamed corn, corn everything..... summer in winter.) We usually have kinder appear about the time we need many hands to shuck the bushels.... somehow didn't plan it right this year.