Best methods for picking, cooking and storing corn
Did you know?
Corn is not only a favorite vegetable, but it is also the source of corn starch, cornmeal, corn oil, corn syrup, bourbon, and laundry starch.
To partake of corn at its very best flavor, take it directly from the plant to a pot of boiling water on the stove. Without proper storage, corn’s natural sugars start to diminish quickly, resulting in a loss of sweetness within a couple of days.
Selecting fresh corn: Look for fresh husks with good green husk color, silk ends that are free from decay or worm injury and stem ends that are not too discolored or dried.
Select ears that are well covered with plump, not too mature kernels. Avoid ears with undeveloped kernels, ears with very large kernels and dark yellow kernels because they can be tough and not very sweet.
It is important to pick corn and process it within 2-3 hours. The sugar in corn is quickly lost, so for optimum quality process as soon after picking as possible.
If you are not able to process immediately, store corn in the refrigerator.
Freezing corn: Corn keeps well frozen.
There are three ways to freeze corn: corn on the cob, whole kernel and cream style.
When freezing corn, do small amounts at a time. Shuck the corn, remove silks, trim ends, wash and then blanch.
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 (1 ¼ inches or less in diameter) 7 minutes, medium ears (1 ¼ to 1 ½ inches in diameter) 9 minutes and large ears (over 1 ½ inch 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 2/3 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.
Corn is a good source of carbohydrates and food energy. Yellow corn has vitamin A and all corn has minerals and protein.
Fresh corn is 74 percent water and has 85 calories per ear. Canned corn has 170 calories per cup.