Corn on the Cob is one of our favorite things to come out of the garden. We plant as much as we have room for in our garden and eat it as often as possible while it is fresh. However, corn has a very short peak window of freshness. We can’t eat it all before it starts to taste old. So we like to freeze the corn so we can eat it all year round and it still tastes fantastic!
Blanching is a necessary step before you can freeze corn for long-term storage. What is blanching? And how do you blanch corn?
Blanching corn is the simple process of boiling corn on the cob in water for 7-11 minutes and then immediately placing it in an ice bath to prevent the loss of flavor, color, and texture before packaging and storing it in the freezer or preserving it by another method.
What is blanching?
Blanching is when food such as a fruit or vegetable is boiled briefly and then placed immediately in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Blanching (scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short time) is a must for almost all vegetables to be frozen. It stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavor, color and texture. Blanching cleanses the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the color and helps retard loss of vitamins. It also wilts or softens vegetables and makes them easier to pack.The National Center for Food Preservation (NCHFP)
Why Does Corn Need to be Blanched?
Blanching deactivates the enzymes in the corn which reduces the amount of quality loss in flavor, texture, and color over time. The ice bath stops the cooking process and prevents the food from becoming too mushy due to overcooking.
How to Blanch Corn
Every year we preserve a few bushels of corn from our garden and a local farmer by blanching it and storing it in our freezer. We found that blanching our corn before freezing it locks in the flavor and texture so that the corn will taste much better when we use it throughout the next year.
Blanching corn is pretty straightforward and simple. We have outlined below what you will need and step-by-step instructions on how we blanch our corn before packaging it and placing it in our freezer.
Step-by-Step Instruction for Blanching Corn
- Boil water, we use our turkey fryer pot and propane cooker outside to do bulk amounts and avoid heating up our house.
- Husk/shuck corn ears removing all the silks.
- Place corn in boiling water, making sure they are all submerged.
- Bring water back to a boil and boil corn for 2-4 minutes if you are cutting off kernels or 7-11 minutes for corn on the cob.
- Remove corn from boiling water.
- Place corn in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- Cut kernels from the cob. I use my electric bread knife. This makes the process quick and efficient.
- Place corn in freezer bags/containers.
- Use corn within 12 months of freezing.
How long does corn need to be blanched?
Corn should be blanched for 2-4 minutes if you are cutting it off the cob. If you plan to freeze the corn on the cob, corn should be blanched for 7-11 minutes.
|Corn Type||Size||Blanching Time|
|Corn-on-the-cob||Small Ears (1¼ inches or less in diameter)||7 Minutes|
|Medium Ears (1¼ to 1½ inches in diameter)||9 Minutes|
|Large Ears (over 1½ inches in diameter)||11 Minutes|
|Whole Kernel||Individual Kernels (already cut off the cob)||2-4 Minutes|
Blanching stops the enzymes in the corn, and when storing the corn on the cob you need to stop the enzymes in the cob as well making the blanching time longer than if you are cutting the kernels off the cob.
What Happens If You Don’t Blanch Corn Before Freezing?
Corn will become soft, chewy, and tasteless if it is not blanched before freezing. Blanching stops the enzymes from changing the flavor color and texture of the corn making long-term storage possible.
Preserving and Storing Corn
There are a couple of effective ways to preserve and store corn. We prefer to freeze corn and store it in one of our freezers but we have also freeze-dried and pressure-canned corn.
Freezing corn is one of the easiest ways to preserve corn so you can have delicious corn that tastes like it is fresh off the cob even in the off-season.
You can freeze the corn right on the cob or cut it off the cob and freeze it in freezer-safe bags. We prefer to cut the corn off the cob before freezing for better-tasting corn when we use it. It also takes up much less space in the freezer when it is in bags instead of still on the cob.
You can store fresh corn in the husk in the freezer in vacuum seal bags, though we do not recommend this method. Corn frozen in the husk has not been blanched which causes the corn to start losing nutrients, flavor, and texture almost immediately.
If you choose to freeze corn in the husk it should be used within 4 months of freezing.
Pressure canning Corn
Pressure canning is another option for storing corn. Because corn is a low acid food it will need to be cooked at a really high temperature or “under pressure” to be able to be stored for a long time. Corn cannot be water-bath canned. It must be pressure canned.
Pressure canning corn is very time-consuming. It will need to be in the pressure canned for 55 to 85 minutes depending on the size of the jar. While pressure canning corn takes a lot longer than freezing corn it will last 3-5 years as opposed to the 1 year that frozen corn lasts.
Freeze drying Corn
Freeze-drying corn is another great option for those that have a freeze dryer and want to add corn to their long-term food storage. When freeze-drying corn, you should still blanch the corn to lock in the flavor, texture, and color. Corn should be cut off the cob and then spread evenly on the trays and placed in the freeze dryer.
If you don’t have a freeze dryer then see if buying one is right for you.
Freeze-dryed corn that is stored in a mylar bag with oxygen absorbers can last for over 15 years. When you’re ready to use the corn it can easily be rehydrated with a little water and eaten or used in cooking.