Whether you buy packaged frozen, canned, or fresh corn, you’ll want to eat it within a year of storing it in the freezer. Don’t rely on any dates printed on cans or packages. The timeline starts the day you put your corn in the freezer for storage.
Does frozen corn go bad? Yes, frozen corn can go bad after 8 to 12 months in the freezer. While in a few cases it may still be safe to eat after a year, it won’t taste good. The time frame is the same for fresh corn on the cob you freeze or store-bought corn.
Let’s take a look at when frozen corn goes bad, how to store it, and when you should throw it out.
How Long Can You Expect Frozen Corn to Last?
Shelf life for frozen vegetables will depend on how you store them, whether they’re leftovers or freshly harvested/purchased, and how well your freezer works. But you can generally expect freshly harvested or purchased corn to last up to a year in the freezer.
That being said, there are things to keep in mind. These things include proper storage procedures, marking dates on containers and packages, and preparation best practices.
Don’t expect to put your corn in a flimsy bag or a container that’s not sealed properly. It’s a good way to get freezer burn on your corn once air gets in. However, freezer burn can also happen if you’ve left frozen corn sitting for more than a year.
You’ll also want to remove the husks from any pieces of corn on the cob you’re planning on freezing. Alternatively, you can remove the kernels of corn from the cob before you freeze them. Just place them in a freezer bag or air-tight plastic container.
Mark Your Dates
If you’re using your own containers, it’s easy to forget when you placed your corn in the freezer. As time passes, you’ll be left wondering if it’s been 5 months, 8 months, or a year and a half. Better to use a piece of masking tape or a sharpie on the bag and mark that date.
Use the day you placed the corn in the freezer for storage, unless you’ve recently transferred corn you were storing in the refrigerator for a few days. Corn only lasts 3 to 5 days in the fridge. If it’s past 3 to 5 days, don’t put it in the freezer hoping to extend its life.
By now, your corn has already spoiled, or its safety is compromised. This brings us to preparation best practices.
Wanting to transfer fresh corn on the cob immediately to the freezer? Go ahead and remove the husks and cook corn to blanch it. Once it’s cooled enough to place in air-tight containers, do it. Then date the containers and put them in the freezer.
Not everyone blanches their corn before they freeze it, but it will taste better if you do. Of course, we mean the way it’ll taste when you take it out to thaw and eat at a later date.
Speaking of thawing…do it in the refrigerator and not out on the kitchen counter. It can take up to a day to thaw in the fridge, but you won’t risk your safety. If you really need to cook that frozen corn now, run it underwater for up to 20 minutes or throw it in a skillet.
And once you thaw out frozen corn, eat it immediately or within 3 to 5 days of placing any leftovers in the fridge. Don’t expect to refreeze.
How Can You Tell Frozen Corn is Bad?
Well, first things first. If frozen corn has been in your freezer for over a year, it’s probably bad. Second, if it’s got ice crystals or freezer burn, it’s also bad. Third, if there is any discoloration or there are dry spots on the kernels, it’s bad.
You may not notice the discoloration or dry spots until you start to thaw out the corn. But if this pops up while you’re cooking the corn, stop immediately. Remove the corn from the pot or skillet and dispose of the food.
Be sure to thoroughly hand wash or place your cookware in the dishwasher. Don’t attempt to cook another batch of frozen corn in it or any other food until you’ve cleaned the dishes.
Does Frozen Corn Develop Bacteria?
No, frozen corn does not usually develop toxic bacteria or botulism while it’s in the freezer. But if you thaw it out and then can it or leave it in the fridge past its prime, your corn may develop the bacteria.
This is why it’s best practice to only thaw out and cook the amount of corn you can be sure to eat in a single meal. However, sometimes we overestimate how much we need to cook or lose our appetite for something that looked appealing at first.
In these scenarios, place the leftovers within an air-tight container in the fridge. You can eat the corn at your next meal, as long as it’s within 3 to 5 days. Alternatively, you can ask your extended family or friends if they want to take the leftovers off your hands.
Should You Buy Canned Corn Instead?
You can buy canned corn from the store if you don’t want to fill up your freezer. Canned corn has a long shelf life because of the preservatives. You’ll be sacrificing lower levels of sodium in most cases.
While you can buy low-sodium canned corn from the store, its shelf life won’t be as long. If you buy canned corn instead, be sure to check the expiration dates on the cans and plan accordingly.
Freezing corn is something singles and large families do to save money and extend the shelf life of excess food. While frozen corn will stay fresh up to a year in the freezer, you’ll want to watch for signs that it’s gone bad. Corn with freezer burn or discoloration should go in the trash.