Once considered a poor man’s food, sweet corn now holds a prominent place in American cuisine. There’s hardly anyone who doesn’t relish a roasted cob of corn drenched in melted butter on a lazy summer afternoon. In fact, sweet corn has become so ubiquitous that it is difficult to imagine meals without it.
However, being a summer staple, fresh sweet corn is available in the market for a very short time. Most of us rely on canned or frozen varieties to enjoy the sweet tender kernels throughout the year. Although it is a convenient way to eat corn year-round, it is not the best option. Most canned and frozen varieties contain preservatives and chemicals that can harm your body in the long run.
While it is best to consume corn fresh during the summer, you can easily stock up your supply for the off-season as well. Storing corn the right way through freezing or blanching can help it stay good for up to one year.
Before you decide the fate of your surplus, you need to refrigerate the corn cobs as soon as you harvest them or bring them home from the market. The longer the corn stays at room temperature, the quicker the sugar in the kernels will convert into starch.
Also, when selecting your corn cobs, choose those that have green husks and pale-colored silk strands. Do not pick ones that have pale husks with dried and brown-colored silk.
Once you have your supply in place, read on to learn how to store sweet corn for 6 months and up to 1 year.
- # Up to 6 Months
- Method 1: Freeze Raw Whole Cobs
- Method 2: Freeze Raw Kernels
- Method 3: Freeze Cooked Kernels
- # Up to 1 Year
# Up to 6 Months
Method 1: Freeze Raw Whole Cobs
The easiest way to store sweet corn is by freezing the uncooked cobs whole. Freezing deactivates the ripening enzymes and prevents the corn from spoiling. However, you’ll need to shuck the cobs first and store them in ziplock baggies. The baggies will prevent the cold air in the freezer from drying out the kernels and altering their sweet taste and texture.
Single-Step Method: Vacuum seal the cobs in ziplock baggies & freeze them
- Shuck all the corn cobs. Chop off the hard tip and the base of each cob.
- Place the corn cobs in ziplock baggies.
- Seal each baggie, leaving just a small opening to insert a straw.
- Push a straw into the opening and use it to suck out all air. Remove the straw and seal the baggie shut.
- Pop the baggies into your freezer.
Corn cobs stored this way will stay good for up to 6 months. To use, simply thaw the corn cobs overnight in the refrigerator.
Method 2: Freeze Raw Kernels
Another convenient way to store sweet corn is by removing the kernels from each corn cob and storing them in ziplock baggies. Not only will this help save space in the freezer, but it will also save you time when you want to add the corn midway through cooking a dish.
Things you’ll need:
- Corn cobs
- Ziplock baggies
- Sharp knife
- Chopping board
Step 1. Remove the kernels from the corn cobs
- Shuck the corn cobs and chop off the tips.
- Hold the cob vertically over a chopping board.
- Use the sharp knife to slice off the kernels, as shown in the image above.
- Manually separate the big chunks of kernels.
Step 2. Seal the kernels in ziplock baggies & freeze them
- Spoon the corn kernels into ziplock baggies. Since you’ll need to thaw the corn in the refrigerator before using it, fill up multiple small baggies.
- Seal each baggie and put a straw inside one corner. Suck out all the air from the baggie through the straw.
- Pull out the straw and seal the baggie completely.
- Place the baggies in the freezer until needed.
Corn kernels stored this way will stay good for 6 months.
Method 3: Freeze Cooked Kernels
If you are hooked on eating canned corn during the off-season, you can prepare your own canned corn. Cooking the corn kernels in water with salt, sugar, and butter will help retain the sweet flavor and tender texture. You can then freeze the cooked, buttery corn and use them when the craving strikes.
Things you’ll need:
- Corn kernels – 2 cups
- Sugar – 2 tablespoons
- Butter – 1 tablespoon
- Salt – 1 tablespoon
- Water – 1 cup
Step 1. Cook the corn kernels in water
- Place a saucepan over heat.
- Pour 1 cup of water into the pan.
- Add 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar to the water.
- Drop 2 cups of corn kernels into the water.
- Once the water starts heating up, add 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Bring the water to a boil and let it simmer for 10 minutes on high.
Step 2. Put the kernels in ziplock baggies & freeze them
- Strain the cooked corn.
- Spoon the corn into ziplock baggies.
- Seal the baggies shut and flatten them.
- Put them in your freezer and use as needed. You will need to thaw the corn overnight in the refrigerator before using it.
Freezing cooked corn kernels will keep them good for 6 months.
# Up to 1 Year
Method 1: Blanch and Freeze Kernels
Blanching is perhaps the best way to store sweet corn up to 1 year. Blanched corn can be added to salads and salsas without the need to cook it first. Blanching helps kill bacteria as well as the enzymes that promote spoilage. It also helps remove any dirt stuck between the kernels.
Blanching is followed by dunking the cooked corn in iced water. This stops the cooking process and prepares the corn to be stored for the long-term. You can also store green peas, broccoli, and celery via blanching and freezing.
Things you’ll need:
- Shucked corn cobs
- Ziplock baggies
- Ice cubes
Step 1. Cook the corn cobs in boiling water
- Fill up a stock pot with enough water to submerge the corn cobs completely.
- Drop the corn cobs into the water.
- Put the lid on the pot.
- Let the cobs cook on high for 4 to 6 minutes.
- Quickly transfer the cobs to an ice bath as described in the following step.
Step 2. Drop the cobs in ice water
- Put ice cubes from 1 tray into a large bowl and add chilled water.
- Using tongs, transfer the corn cobs from the hot water to the ice water.
- Let the cobs sit in the ice water for 5 minutes.
Step 3. Cut the kernels off the cobs
- Use a pair of tongs to remove the corn cobs from the ice water and put them on a chopping board.
- Use a sharp knife to remove the kernels from each cob, as shown in the image above.
- Break up any big chunks of kernels.
Step 4. Transfer the kernels to ziplock baggies & freeze them
- Spoon the kernels into ziplock baggies.
- Zip up each baggie and insert a straw in it to suck out all the air.
- Remove the straw and seal the baggie completely.
- Flatten the baggies and pop them in your freezer. Thaw the corn overnight in the fridge before using it.
Blanched corn stored in the freezer will stay good for up to 1 year.
- When freezing veggies, label the baggies with the date you put them in storage. This will help you keep track of when they’ll expire.
- Do not throw away the corn cobs after removing the kernels. You can use them to roast chicken. Place the chicken over corn cob slices and roast it like you usually do. The chicken will cook evenly from the underside, and the cobs will impart a mild corn fragrance to the chicken.
- If you are growing your corn, the best time to harvest it is early in the morning.
- You can use a soft vegetable brush to remove corn silk from the cobs easily.
- One corn cob yields around ½ cup of kernels.