While there are a variety of ways to preserve corn, the best way I have found to maintain taste and easy access is to freeze it. Doing so will keep most of the flavor while maximizing the length of time before expiration.
But how long will corn last in the freezer? Frozen corn will keep for 6-12 months with the proper packaging and a usual freezer temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit. This is mostly factoring in taste, however. Corn will remain safe to consume under most circumstances for much longer.
But there are other important factors to consider when it comes to preserving those little golden kernels. If you’d like to know the specifics of how to keep corn tasting almost as delicious as it was on the cob, read on!
Blanch Before Freezing!
Fruits and veggies contain enzymes that break down in the freezer and make them lose their taste faster. No one wants that, so the remedy is to blanch your corn. To blanch generally means to drain something of color. It might sound fancy, but all it really includes is boiling the corn for a short time before immediately putting into an ice bath. It should be about 10 minutes in the boiling water, then 10 minutes in the ice water. It’s a simple but crucial process. Before you freeze the corn, you’ll want to make sure it’s dry.
You’ll then want to decide whether you want to cut the corn off of the cob or leave it on. Either way will preserve the corn.
As is the case with most foods, you’ll want to remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible. A regular ZipLoc is acceptable, but you won’t be able to get all of the air out, so you’ll knock some time off the expiration.
A better solution is to use a vacuum-sealed bag. VacMaster, Weston, and FoodSaver are all trusted brands, none of which are paying us to say that.
Tip: make sure to mark your bags with the date so that you know your general expiration date. One way to tell if your corn is expired (besides a terrible taste) is the formation of spots of discoloration.
What Makes Corn Last Even Longer?
Canned corn can be safe to consume for 2-5 years, although the general rule for canned goods is 2 years. Mold is one of the worst culprits of tainting it after this point, which will not occur in the freezer. Taste is generally also better with frozen corn as opposed to canned, but this is also just a matter of preference.
Can Corn be Dried for Preservation?
Corn can be dehydrated just like many other vegetables, fruits, and beans. However, rehydrating it will not maintain much of the integrity of the kernel. Therefore, I would not recommend doing so for anything other than soup or a similar dish.
What To Do With Your Frozen Corn Surplus Before It Expires
So, you have five huge bags of corn in the freezer and you’re not quite sure where to go from here. Should you just succumb and throw them away or give them to the pig farmer down the street? No way! You worked hard to preserve that corn, and you better believe there are plenty of uses for it.
Sautéed corn. Frozen corn will have less moisture and more stale skin. So what I like to do is throw those suckers into a pan, with a generous amount of butter or margarine, on medium-high heat.
Once the corn has absorbed the butter, throw some table salt or garlic salt on it to mask that classic freezer flavor. Once the kernels start to blacken around the edges, take them off of the heat and enjoy. It’s one of my favorite side dishes, even when the corn has been in the freezer for several months.
Creamed Corn. Another way to restore some moisture and get rid of the undesirable taste is to cream your corn. This is a little bit more complex than a quick sauté, but not by much.
One of the best ways to make creamed corn is to mix melted butter or grease with flour so that it turns into a roux, and then add the corn along with any other foods that will compliment the flavor such as onions, peppers, or herbs. The juices and flavors of all of these ingredients will make the frozen taste unnoticeable.
Corn Bread. One of the really great side dishes that you hardly get anywhere but the Southern United States is homemade cornbread. This is third on the list only because fresh corn really does make the best cornbread, but the batches I have made with frozen corn have still been tasty.
For this one, you will want to look up a recipe if you want to do it from scratch. But here’s a tip to do it easily: take a box of store-bought cornbread mix, and follow the directions as outlined on the package. EXCEPT for one little detail. Add in a cup of thawed corn kernels just before the batter goes into the pan. It really enhances the final product.
Corn is one of the most versatile and universal food items there is. It can be preserved for a long time and still taste good; you just need to follow the right process of blanching, bagging, and freezing so that you get a delicious final product.
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