High Land Hills

Life on the farm

Sweet Corn! Harvesting and Freezing

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2013 was a good year for sweet corn. There are about 5 days in the summer where we eat corn for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And it’s delicious every time.

We grow a variety called Bodacious. It only gives you about 24 hours to eat it after its been picked but its the sweetest, juiciest, burst in your mouth corn we have tried. Sweet corn in general immediately starts turning its sugars to starch after its been picked so whatever you grow, eat it quick!

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This is our sweet corn patch. There is popcorn to the far right, pumpkins, zucchini and artichokes to the left and cucumbers in front. This is a great example of companion planting. Native Americans traditionally planted pumpkins to vine through their corn and raccoons hate prickly cucumber vines.

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6:00 am on the farm, sun coming up. We knew that the corn was close and when we checked the inner most stalks of the patch the ears were plump so we knew we had to get started!

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It’s best to harvest sweet corn as early in the day as possible while the water is as high on the plant as possible. Plus it takes a lot of time to put away this much corn…

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Don’t harvest more than you can eat or preserve. It keeps better on the stalk so pick as you go.

The real Nebraska Cornhuskers :)

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Find a shady spot and get to huskin!

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Some people chose to clean the corn. We think they come out of the husks pretty darn clean thanks to Mother Nature so we chose to skip washing.

PRESERVING/FREEZING

Blanching and Shocking (boiling for a short period and then putting in ice cold water) destroys the enzymes that break down the texture, color, and nutrients during its time in the freezer. That being said, There isn’t much difference bagging raw corn straight off the corn for say the first 3 months. So if you only think it will last that long in your freezer you can skip blanching.

The old school process involved cooking the corn in massive pots of boiling water and then cooling in large sinks of cold water. It took a lot of room and a lot of time. I looked for a better way…

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This is an All-Clad Stockpot with Pasta insert. This way I can boil the water in the stockpot. Put just the corn kernels in the pasta colander. Dunk the corn into the boiling water and then lift it and put it into a bucket of ice water. The whole process takes about 3 minutes.

We are really busy here on the farm. Any short cuts really ¬†help. The only con we can see with this method is that some of the milky corn juice is left in the boiling water because the kernels are cut/open rather than on the cob. BUT, I haven’t had anyone even notice a difference yet. And that little bit of waste is really worth the extra hours of work we saved. So there!

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But you still have to get that corn off the cob first! How is up to you. There are all sorts of gadgets. I wouldn’t recommend a single one. My best advice is a very sharp knife. Many people think the sharper the knife the more dangerous, but quite the opposite. Dull knives slip and jerk causing accidents. Sharp Sharp Sharp!

BAGGING

Some people bag the corn in a sugar water solution. In my comparative tests, I don’t see any difference between properly blanched corn and sugar water corn. So we pass on this step too. Just drain the corn in the colander it’s already in after cooled in the ice water and put into freezer bags!

TO USE

I don’t like microwaves (I know). So I cook the corn on the stove. If you are better at planning than me you can defrost the corn before the meal. I however usually go straight from the freezer. I cut open the baggie, put it in a saucepan on Medium Low with a lid on. Once its defrosted and in kernels again I add a lot of butter and salt. I turn up the heat a little to get it good and hot and serve.

I also like to use the corn in my cornbread. I puree defrosted corn in the food processor and add it to my batter.

My husband now loves corn fritters/hush puppies. I basically combine the two recipes to end up with hush puppies with chunks of corn. And for good fun when the chili peppers are in the garden I add minced jalapeno to the batter too. Uh-huh.

Then there is corn salsa, corn in your salad, southwest eggrolls, corn is good in about anything. Grow some!

Someday I will get around to how we plant and grow the corn. Until then I always refer to the magazine Mother Earth News.

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