Corn on the cob, also known as maize or sweetcorn, is delicious grilled on a barbecue or boiled and buttered.
Corn removed from the cob is incredibly versatile for use in sweet and savory dishes. From salad, stir-fry, soup, chowder, curry, pie filling, and casseroles to bread, muffins, and omelets, corn can be used in almost anything.
As will all fresh produce, corn starts to deteriorate soon after it has been harvested. Freezing corn on the cob is a great way to extend the shelf life of the vegetable.
There are, however, a few steps you should take in preparing the corn for freezing to ensure the preservation of the flavor, color, and texture over a long period.
Here is everything you need to know to successfully freeze corn on the cob.
Types of Corn You Can Freeze
Corn on the cob generally refers to a cooked ear of fresh corn. Sweet corn is the most popular variety of maize eaten directly off the cob. The leafy husk surrounding each ear of corn is not edible and is removed before serving or cooking.
Corn is at its sweetest if cooked and eaten on the same day it was harvested. After the first day of harvesting, the corn already loses 25% of its sweetness as the sugars convert into starch.
Corn can be cooked on the cob, or the kernels can be removed from the cob before or after cooking. The most common way to cook corn is by boiling, oven roasting, grilling, microwaving, frying, or on a barbecue grill.
When grilled on the barbecue, corn can be cooked in the husk, and the leaves removed just before serving. Simply served with a slather of butter, salt, and pepper, corn is delicious on its own. Alternatively, it can be added to a variety of dishes, casseroles, batters, and soups.
Can Corn on the Cob Be Frozen?
Yes, corn on the cob can be frozen to extend its shelf life without compromising its flavor, color, or texture. For the best result, it is necessary to blanch the corn before freezing.
Blanching involves scalding, but not cooking, the corn in boiling water for a short period. Blanching stops the naturally occurring ripening enzymatic activity that eventually causes fresh produce to decay.
Although the enzymatic activity slows down during freezing, the enzymes still continue to function. If not blanched, frozen corn on the cob will have a less vibrant color, poor texture, and less sweet taste.
Unblanched corn can still be used but won’t last longer than 2 months in the freezer and the quality will not be as good. It may, therefore, be better to use unblanched corn in recipes where it will be blended with a variety of other ingredients such as soups, stews, and casseroles.
How To Freeze Corn on the Cob
Step 1: Clean
If the corn has not yet been cleaned, it is important to shuck the ears thoroughly. Trim the ends and remove the surrounding husk. Be sure to remove any silky strands completely as well.
Step 2: Wash
Wash the corn well in water to remove any dirt or remaining strands.
Step 3: Blanch
Boil water in a large stockpot. Do not add salt to the water as this may toughen the corn. You can, however, add a tablespoon of sugar for a slightly sweeter end-product. Fill a separate large bowl or sink with ice water.
Add the corn to the boiling water. Start timing only once the water is boiling. The size of the corn will depend on how long you want to leave it in the water to boil.
Smaller ears of corn, or ears that have been cut in half should boil for 5 to 7 minutes, while large whole ears of corn should blanch around 9 minutes. You do not want the corn to cook through.
Once 5 to 9 minutes have elapsed, immediately remove the corn from the boiling water and submerge it into the ice bath to stop the cooking process. If the corn cooks through and is not immediately cooled, it may become mushy, bland, and pale once thawed.
Step 4: Cool and Dry
Ensure that the corn has cooled completely before removing it from the ice bath. Dry each ear of corn with a clean kitchen towel. Excess moisture will result in the formation of large ice crystals on freezing which will cause freezer burn affecting the flavor and texture of the corn.
If you prefer to freeze the kernels of corn off the cob, take a knife and shave the kernels off the cob. This will shorten the thawing time and also make it easier to use the corn after freezing.
However, if you are not sure how you will be using the corn, whether you would like to cook the corn on the cob or use it on a barbecue grill, it is best to freeze it on the cob.
Step 5: Wrap
Once completely cool and dry, wrap each ear of corn in cling film or foil. Make sure that the corn is completely covered with no gaps where air can enter.
Step 6: Pack
Place the wrapped corn in a resealable freezer bag. Press out any air before sealing the freezer bag. If you are freezing the kernels only, scoop them into a resealable freezer bag and press out the remaining air before sealing the top of the bag.
Step 7: Label and Freeze
Label the bag with the date of freezing and contents and place it in the freezer.
How To Thaw Frozen Corn on the Cob
Corn on the cob as well as corn kernels do not need to be thawed before cooking. Simply remove the corn from wrapping and boil it for a few minutes (around 3 to 5 minutes), bake it in the oven, or grill on a barbecue.
Corn can also be cooked in the microwave, preferably wrapped in cling film to prevent drying out.
Let the corn defrost in the refrigerator and drain off any excess liquid before using it in any type of batter. The excess moisture may change the consistency of the batter. Corn kernels can be added frozen or thawed to soups, stews, and stir fry while cooking.
See more: how to reheat corn on the cob
Being so versatile, healthy, and filling, corn is a great ingredient to have on hand for a snack, side dish, or meal-enhancer. Whether corn on the cob, husked, or loose kernels, corn can be frozen to extend its shelf life and lock in some of its sweetness.
The sooner you freeze it after harvesting, the better the quality will remain. Save yourself on food waste, time, and money by keeping a stash of these delicious golden veggies in the freezer.
Don’t forget to explore our blog to learn more how to freeze cornbread.
*Image by yarunivphoto/depositphotos