Corn for Freezing: Blanch or Not?

zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)September 2, 2007

We eat a lot of fresh corn in season (especially now we live 3 minutes from a farm stand), but I've never bothered to freeze any of it for winter use before. I find President's Choice Peaches & Cream frozen kernels to be unusually good for frozen veggies and have made do with them.

But now we have a freezer, and the corn is so cheap and plentiful and good, I thought I'd try putting some up this year.

Do you blanch the ears before cutting off the kernels, or just cut & freeze?



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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Don't want it on the cob? I trim the ears, blanch and freeze the ears 6 to a bag. Then you can eat on or cut off the cob when you serve it. We think it holds texture better that way.

If you want it cut off then blanch the ears, put in ice water, cut it off the cob and pack drained in freezer bags or containers. Or you can also scrape the cobs for the milk and freeze it as cream-style corn.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 11:53AM
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petrowizard(z5a NE IL)


I have tried doing it the way Dave says and it always tastes "cobby" to me, but I know many people do it that way and like it. Freezing on the ear also takes up far more precious freezer space, so it's just not worth it to me.

My aunt contends that if you cut the kernels off the ears first, then blanch and freeze, you get more corn. I haven't tested that proposition.

I have taken to doing the following: When we have corn on the cob for dinner, I always cook extra ears. Then after dinner I whip out the electric knife and my trusty bundt pan, balance the ear on the hole in the bundt pan, and cut the corn off the extra ears, bag and freeze. This takes about 15 minutes and you don't end up boiling extra water, or devoting an afternoon to processing corn.

I suggest you try freezing several different ways, you'll quickly figure out what tastes and works best for you.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 1:09PM
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prairie_love(z3/4 ND)

I cut the kernels off, then blanch for 5 minutes. Immediately place in ice water to cool, drain, freeze. I freeze so much at one time that it would take many pots of water to blanch on the cobs.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 4:27PM
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However you do it, the blanching is a necessary part of the process, to deactivate enzymes.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 9:14PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

I find that blanching the corn while on the ears works great. It seems to cut off the cobs a bit easier after a few minutes of a blanch.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 12:24AM
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triple_b(BC 5b)

I have found myself to be a big fan of alot of President's Choice products. Their Chili and Lime Tortilla chips...Dang man! So good!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 1:56AM
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If you have the Ball Blue, there is a recipe on page 100 for pre-cooked corn. When you cool it down, save all the liquid used in cooking. When cooled to room temp., place in freezer containers or bags. Put the liquid in also.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 4:05PM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)

Wow, what a lot of different methods! Clearly I'll have to experiment a bit.

It seems to me that if I "blanch" the corn for five minutes, as some people have suggested, it will be not so much blanched as cooked --- I usually don't cook it any longer than that to eat right away. I THINK that I would prefer to have it not fully cooked when I freeze it, since I"ll be cooking it at least a bit further whenever I use it. Hmm.

I also have considered blancing in the microwave. Last week when we bought corn someone else buying it at the same time was saying she had recently been converted to cooking it in the microwave --- 3 to 4 minutes on high, still in the husk, then peel and eat! We tried it and it worked great, no water to boil at all... (Though we do find it is so hot inside that it needs to cool a fair bit after the microwaving before it can be peeled comfortably.)

What do the enzymes do and why do I want to de-activate them?

triple B,
Oh, I agree about those chips! I also like the Butter Chicken frozen entrees (now that I live in a small town with no Indian restaurants they're a life saver!).


    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 10:48PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Attempting to blanch in a microwave gives uneven results. A blanch of about 2 to 3 minutes for whole corn cobs is just fine.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 11:14AM
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Zabby, here is a link on blanching vegetables for freezing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Why you blanche vegetables for freezing

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 11:08PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

One of my friends, her dad raised sweet corn and put her through college with it. They just take the corn, leave it in the husks, and put it in the freezer. It does take up a lot of room, but if you put about 6 ears in a doubled shopping bag and tie it up, it's really good.It sounded too easy--but I tried it and it works just fine.
Somehow, the shucks keep it from going hard, and you can microwave it in the husks and then carefully remove it for eating. You can also grill it after thawing.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 7:07AM
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triple_b(BC 5b)

Zab, not being a user of frozen entrees myself, I didn't know about the butter chicken one. I do however love their curry sauces in the jar. Butter chicken, Tikka Masala (My fave) and Madras Curry (the hot one which I have not tried yet. Hubby is a chicken). Like Sharwoods and that other one, only cheaper.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 8:46PM
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Hey All,

At the risk of being scolded, I will admit that I just husk corn, wash it, and cut the cobs in half and freeze it.

My ex-mother-in-law always blanched it before freezing on the cob only to produce mushy results. I find that the corn does not lose its flavor and results in a "crisp" ear of corn.

I have never had any problems with it, but I do it as soon as I get it. So, I don't know......I do know that I have blanched it when removing it from the cob and storing in freezer bags........


    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 7:14PM
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I know this is an old thread...but Lesa brought up my problem exactly.

The few paltry ears of corn that made it from my garden last year (that wern't eaten on the spot)...I blanched and froze.

EVERY single one of them has been soggy and not very tasty :bleh:

I only blanched a couple ears at a time and put them in ice water when done....I'm pretty sure I only cooked them for about 3 minutes, but that was last year ;)

Should I cook them longer, since I'm at higher altitude? Or was there something else that I probably messed up that I'm not thinking of ;)

Anyway, sorry for pulling up an old thread :)


    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 9:07AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Blanching and then removing the kernals from the cobs gives a much better flavor. My corn, when I grow it is usualy the all yellow varieties, and not sugar enhanced or any of the sweeter hybrids. The cobs are picked, and blanched immediately and then I use corn cutters to remove all the kernals. These get frozen in bags and even after 6 or more months they are still quite good as to flavor. One hing about corn is the fact that once its picked, the kernals start pushing the natural sugar out and back into the cobs where all the flavor seems to go. Thats one of the main reasons they have developed these higher sugar corn hybrids to counteract long storage times. My brothers wifes' parents were farmers and when they served us cut corn that was from their big commercial garden, it was as good as if not better than fresh from the supermarket. Anyone ever heard of Hawkins Farm in Salem NH? That was one place that was mobbed during harvest time.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 10:26AM
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One thing not mentioned here is the water used to blanch corn. My water here at this farm is heavy with lime. When blanching and cooling, then cutting off the cob it's just fine. However I have tried blanching clean ears, cooling, then freezing whole ears. It don't work. It taste sour and smells spoiled. On another farm nearby with well water not filtered thru a water conditioner, the frozen ears were completely different. You will just have to work it out with your water because it makes a difference.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 11:55AM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)


Three minutes sounds like a long time for blanching to me. I only cook corn about 5 minutes total before eating, sometimes less.

But since I was the original poster of this thread, you know I don't know much about this topic and am a new corn freezer!

In the end, I didn't blanch. At least, I think I didn't. I just cut the kernels off and froze. And we're enjoying them a great deal now --- put some in some chicken fajitas yesterday at lunch, in fact. Definitely more flavourful than most store-bought kernel corn, and better texture than even the President's Choice, which like all others tends to be too soft. These are definitely not soft or mushy. In fact, if I have any complaints it's that they are not the tenderest in the world, either, though I think that is because it was late-season corn that was not so very tender to begin with, IIRC.

Will try putting up more earlier in the season next year, perhaps.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 6:18PM
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Each year we do about 75 quarts each time we set up. I have 3 families to grow for. I blanch for 2 min and plung in cold water to cool. I use a turkey fryer and blanch 10 ears at a time. Never had the nerve to do it without blanching unless I am puting directly in a frying pan with butter and cooking.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 6:50AM
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ladykitsu I bet I ended up blanching too long. bah!

Oh well, I know for this year :D

As always, thanks for the help ya'll


    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 8:44AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Yes, corn cooks fast, and my blanch is only about 2 minutes. My corn cutter will take 3 rows at once from end to end. I have several different cutters, but this latest cutter is all stainless and has a blade guide for row type corn. Its not as useful for shoepeg type though.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 10:54AM
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gran2(z5 INDIANA)

Enzymes are the part of the food that causes it to grow and mature. Killing the enzymes (done through blanching) tells the food to stop maturing and "freezes" the state of maturation. No one so far has mentioned timing. The chemical makeup of corn changes in the first four hours, and if you've never tasted corn picked while the water was boiling, you'll disagree. If you have, you're a corn snob like me. Toxins start to develop in the corn after about four hours; sugars begin to turn to starches, and the consistency toughens. Work in very small batches, be quick and get the corn in the freezer ASAP. If it sits through a meal waiting, my opinion is that it's ready for the livestock. (told you I was a corn snob)

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 1:49PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

I quote from my thread above:'cobs are picked, and blanched immediately". Yes, immediately means to pick, shuck, and blanch within minutes. Something I also do when making cuke pickles.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 4:23PM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)

> The chemical makeup of corn changes in the first four hours, and if you've never tasted corn picked while the water was boiling, you'll disagree. If you have, you're a corn snob like me.

Fresher is definitely better. But modern corn hybrid varieties are different from old-time corn, in which the sugars could all turn to starches if it wasn't even picked on exactly the right day. (That's why it's so much rarer to find folks who grow heirloom corn than heirloom tomatoes.) I have indeed picked it from my yard with the water boiling, and I have to say that I find it's mostly a party trick --- a "because I can" thing. With most varieties, the chemistry is such that a few hours really doesn't make much difference.

Philistine Zabby

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 8:45PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The newer sugar enhanced types have been bred to produce more sugar in the kernals. Its called a 'shrunken gene'. The reason for the extra sugar was to help prevent he loss that goes back into the cobs during sort term storage. White kernals are always white, and yellow was always yellow. The bicolor came later, then the sugar enhanced types. If you plant heirloom types next to sugar enhanced or Sh varieties, the whole crop will be useless. Trust me, I made that mistake two years ago, when I mixed a few nearly empty corn seed packets together and planted several rows, 30 foot long. The end result were mostly short stalks only 3-4 feet tall, and stubby corn cobs with maybe 3-4 rows of kernals at the stem ends, and undeveloped tips. Needless to say, no matter what was done to them as to pollination, fertilizer, etc, didn't change the outcome. Since then, I have thrown out every last corn packet that has Sa or Sh in its description, and will only grow yellow corn that have been the 'gold standard' for many years. I don't care for the sugar enhanced ones anyway. They taste as if someone had added a LOT of sugar to the kernals, and that kills the natural flavors and character.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 9:22PM
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One thing that I have done when we have had little rain for 2 or 3 weeks as the corn is maturing, I pick the corn and put in large tubs of water. I let it soak overnite and prepare it the next morning. I might do 30 doz this way and it does take on a lot of water overnight. I think this helps keep the sugars in the corn. A lot of vendors at county fairs that sell roasted corn do this. I do this for corn that I display in compition at county fairs. A Ksrogers stated, 2 min blanching is enough for good quality corn.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 6:40AM
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