Updated: September 9, 2012 6:05AM
This is the month of the year that we celebrate numerous birthdays in my family including mine today. We always enjoy corn on the cob as a part of these family celebrations and want to be able to enjoy that great taste all winter long too. In order to do that, I will freeze fresh corn now when it is in season and coming right from the fields.
Take time to freeze corn correctly and you will be rewarded this winter with a taste from this summer.
Preparation: Select only tender, freshly gathered corn in the milk stage. Husk and trim the ears, remove silks and wash.
Corn-on-the-cob: Water blanch small ears (1¼ inches or less in diameter) 7 minutes, medium ears (1¼ to 1½ inches in diameter) 9 minutes and large ears (over 1½ inches in diameter) 11 minutes. Cool promptly and completely to prevent a “cobby” taste. Drain and package. Seal and freeze.
Whole kernel corn: Water blanch 4 minutes. Cool promptly, drain and cut from cob. Cut kernels from cob about two-thirds the depth of the kernels. Package, leaving ½-inch headspace. Seal and freeze.
Cream-style corn: Water blanch 4 minutes. Cool promptly and drain. Cut kernel tips and scrape the cobs with the back of a knife to remove the juice and the heart of the kernel. Package, leaving ½-inch headspace. Seal and freeze.
Another way to prepare cream style corn for freezing is to cut and scrape the corn from the cob without blanching. Place the cut corn in a double boiler, and heat with constant stirring for about 10 minutes or until it thickens; allow to cool by placing the pan in ice water. Package in moisture-vapor resistant containers, leaving ½-inch headspace. Seal and freeze.
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.
Blanching time is crucial and varies with the vegetable and size. Underblanching stimulates the activity of enzymes and is worse than no blanching. Overblanching causes loss of flavor, color, vitamins and minerals.
As soon as blanching is complete, vegetables should be cooled quickly and thoroughly to stop the cooking process. To cool, plunge the basket of vegetables immediately into a large quantity of cold water, 60 degrees or below. Change water frequently or use cold running water or ice water. If ice is used, about 1 pound of ice for each pound of vegetable is needed. Cooling vegetables should take the same amount of time as blanching.
Drain vegetables thoroughly after cooling. Extra moisture can cause a loss of quality when vegetables are frozen.
AVOCADO, CORN AND BLACK BEAN SALSA
1 can shoepeg corn drained and rinsed or frozen corn thawed
1 can black beans drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup fat free Italian dressing
Cilantro, chopped, to taste
Small red onion, chopped
Combine corn, black beans, sugar, and Italian dressing. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Add cilantro, red onion, and avocados. Serve immediately.