Monday, January 27, 2014
Sweet! ... Corn That Is!
Nebraskans love their corn.
Every July is met with anticipation of picking the "first" sweet corn and savoring the crisp kernels buttered and salted. It is seriously a topic of conversation among tables and cafes around this area.
The first batch or two is a delight to husk and cook. People boil the ears or grill them over coals. Honestly, I can go on an on about ways to serve this grain up. I would start to sound like Bubba from the movie Forrest Gump- although, I would be talking about corn. On a good year, sweet corn is plentiful and delectable.
Somehow, after the first few meals or ten, we decide it is time to start "putting it up" for the winter.
That begins the cruel process of picking, husking, boiling, scraping, bagging, and freezing the yellow harvest.
We battle mosquitoes, mud, and the humid 100 degree temps to twist ear after ear off the stalks. We have a narrow window of opportunity to get the corn when it is just right. You need to wait until the silks have turned brown and the kernels are filled out- but you need to harvest before the corn dents and begins to dry. There is nothing worse than tough corn.
This summer a friend was gracious and allowed us to glean her sweet corn patch. I lost count of how many bags or boxes of corn we picked. It was a beautiful patch, loaded with sweet bi-color corn. Many Nebraskans dream about a bumper crop like this!
After I lugged home our bounty, the realization of "putting up" all this corn sunk in.
I tackled it head on. I assigned the boys the wonderful task of shucking the ears while I blanched ear after ear. Then I scraped all the kernels off each cob. I burned my fingers and heated the house to an unbearable temperature, BUT it was all worth the effort. Nothing beats frozen sweet corn during a January blizzard or "polar vortex".
Tonight we dined on the glorious summer treat. Here is a new method the older Sisters down the road told me about. I tried their ideas out this summer when my fingers were rigid from cutting kernels and my back hurt from standing. I was about to throw in the towel, but I thought it would be worth a try.
Here is how I froze "corn on the cob" the Sister's style:
Take your ears of corn and husk all the layers, except one!
With a sharp knife cut the ends of each ear off.
Wrap individually in plastic wrap. I deviated here and placed them in freezer bags in batches that would feed my family.
When you are ready to cook them, bring a pot of water to a full boil.
Pull the husks off the corn and twist your hands around them under running water for a bit to loosen the silks.
IMMEDIATELY, place them in the boiling water and let cook to your taste preference. I cooked ours for about 20-30 minutes, but I was also waiting for the oldest to get home from practice.
Butter and salt!! Your ears might not be as crisp as fresh corn on the cob, but it is still a treat in the middle of January when the temperature is 20 below zero.
Do you have a fun way to freeze sweet corn?