Corn is a starchy, grainy cereal, whether eaten on the cob or added to recipes like Zucchini, roasted corn salsa, and creamy fresh baked corn. It is also known as Maize in some parts of the world and was domesticated by the indigenous people of southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago. This cereal grain is rich in vitamins, fiber, and minerals.
Unfortunately, corn does not grow all year round. So, how do you preserve this cereal to be enjoyed anytime?
Can you freeze corn? Yes, you can. Corn can be frozen, and have its shelf extended for a longer duration of 8 – 12 months. However, certain processes have to be observed to ensure that the corn keeps its color, taste, and texture.
Corn has been eaten all over the world for centuries. You can even eat raw corn. It is versatile, as it can be enjoyed in dishes, roasted, or eaten as a standalone meal. Corn is a bit like vegetable and fruits, before freezing it, it has to undergo blanching. This helps to retain its color, nutrients, and taste.
How to Freeze Corn
Corn can be frozen on the cob or off the cob. There is no difference in the freezing processes at all. Having your corn frozen off the cob means that it is easier to use them in recipes that require the kernels to be stripped from the cob.
Step 1: Husking
Do not freeze corn in their husks. So, the first thing to do is to husk the corn. Remove the covers and remove the stray silks. Cutaway the stalk ends on the cobs, the corn needs to be shucked before blanching.
Wash the corn thoroughly with cool running tap water. This is to help you remove the dirt and debris from the corn. Also, if you have harvested the corn yourself, you should check for worms or beetles, or bugs that might be camping in your bundle of corn.
Step 2: Blanching
The importance of blanching vegetables can not be over-stressed. So, having washed the corn and shucking it, put a pan of water on the fire to boil. While you wait for the water to boil, prepare an ice bath and put it within reach. The blanching time of the corn should be determined by its size.
When the water boils, put the corn and set your timer for about 6 minutes if your batch of corn is in the medium-sized category. Don’t add salt, as this would only make the corn harder. You can add a little bit of sugar to sweeten the corn.
Once the time has elapsed, take the corn from the hot bath and transfer it immediately into the ice bath with tongs. This is to help stop the cooking process. That’s what blanching is all about; stopping ripening processes and slowing down enzymatic reactions.
Leave the corn in the ice bath till it is cool to the touch. Feel free to add more ice if the ice bath begins to get warm. Leave the corn to air dry or pat it down with a paper towel.
Step 3: Storage and Freezing (On Cob or Off Cob)
At this point, you decide if you want to freeze your corn with the kernels on the cob or otherwise.
For on Cob, take the corn and place them individually with enough space between each one on a tray, and put the entire tray into the freezer to freeze for a few hours. About 4 – 6 hours should do it. This is known as Flash freezing. It helps to keep your corn from sticking together upon freezing.
When the corn on the cob has frozen solid in the freezer, pull them out and wrap them in plastic before putting them into an airtight freezer bag. Press the bag flat to expel air before sealing.
If you want to freeze your corn off the cob, you need to use a device known as the corn stripper, and it can be gotten in your utensil store or online. With this, you can conveniently strip the kernels from the cob. It can be a bit messy because of all the juice, so get ready to do a bit of cleaning.
Once you strip the kernels, spread them out on a tray and flash freeze, before you pack them into an airtight container or bag. Get all the air out before you seal.
One more thing, before you put the bags into the freezer to freeze for the long term, label them with the contents and date of the freeze. This would help you keep track if you ever lose sight of what you have stored.
Can You Freeze Corn without Blanching?
Yes, you can. But I would advise against it. Blanching corn doesn’t only help you keep the color as most people think, it does more than that. It keeps the flavor, nutrients, and most importantly, taste and texture. So, Blanching is necessary.
How to Thaw Frozen Corn
You can thaw frozen corn with a microwave or on the stovetop. You can also roast your corn while it’s still frozen.
In the microwave, put the frozen corn in a microwave-safe container and add water. Set the dial to high and leave it there for 7 to 9 minutes and you have your corn ready to eat.
With the stovetop, get a large stockpot, put in all the frozen corn you can eat. Add enough water to fully immerse the corn, bring the water to a boiling temperature with high heat and then cook the corn for 6 to 8 minutes at medium heat.
Can Corn on the Cob Grow Mold?
Yes, it can. You will first notice the moist tip of the corn cob going moldy. If you catch it early, you can cut off the ends with the addition of an extra inch to stop the spread, and eat the corn as soon as you can. But if the mold has spread too much, please throw it out.