Preserving sweet corn

  • Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018

Fresh ears of corn with husks

Summer is a great time to enjoy fresh sweet corn, but it can also be easily preserved to enjoy year-round. Sweet corn can be preserved by freezing, pressure canning or dehydration.

Freezing sweet corn

Sweet corn can be frozen on the cob, as whole kernel corn or as cream-style corn. For all methods, the corn must be husked and trimmed, and its silks removed and washed.

For corn on the cob, water blanch small ears (1¼ inches or less in diameter) for 7 minutes, medium ears (1¼—1½ inches in diameter) for 9 minutes and large ears (over 1½ inches) for 11 minutes. Cool promptly and completely. Drain and package. Seal and freeze.

For whole kernel corn, water blanch 4 minutes. Cool promptly, drain and cut corn from the cob at about two-thirds the depth of the kernels. Package, leaving ½ inch of headspace. Seal and freeze.

For 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 of headspace. Seal and freeze.

Pressure canning sweet corn

Select corn of ideal quality and maturity for eating fresh. Husk corn, remove silk and wash ears.

For whole kernel corn, blanch 3 minutes in boiling water. Cut corn from cob at about three-fourths the depth of kernel. Caution: Do not scrape the cob. An average of 31½ pounds (in husks) of sweet corn will make a canner load of 7 quarts.

  • Hot pack — Add 1 cup of hot water to each clean quart of kernels in a saucepan. Heat to boiling and simmer 5 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jar, if desired. Fill jars with corn and cooking liquid, leaving 1 inch of headspace.
     
  • Raw pack — Fill jar with raw kernels, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Do not shake or press down. Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jar, if desired. Add fresh boiling water, leaving 1 inch of headspace.

Adjust lids and process jars in a dial-gauge pressure canner at 11 pounds pressure at altitudes of 0 to 2,000 feet, or at 12 pounds pressure at altitudes of 2,001 to 4,000 feet. Process jars in a weighted gauge pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure at altitudes of zero to 1,000 feet, or at 15 pounds pressure at altitudes above 1,000 feet. Process pints for 55 minutes and quarts for 85 minutes.

For cream-style corn, blanch ears 4 minutes in boiling water. Cut corn from cob at about the center of kernel. Scrape remaining corn from cobs with a table knife. An average of 20 pounds (in husks) of sweet corn will make a canner load of 9 pints.

  • Hot pack — Add 1 cup of water to each 2 cups of corn, and heat to a boil. Add ½ teaspoon salt to each pint jar, if desired. Fill pint jar with hot corn mixture, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe jar rims.

Adjust lids and process jars at the same pounds of pressure and times as for whole kernel corn, described above. Note that quart jars are not recommended for cream-style corn.

Dehydrating sweet corn

To dry sweet corn, husk and trim cobs before washing them. Blanch the cobs for 2-2½ minutes with steam, or 1½ minutes in water. Cut the kernels from the cob after blanching. Preheat the dehydrator and arrange kernels on drying trays, leaving small spaces between them for good air circulation. Stir or rotate pieces to ensure even drying. After 6-8 hours of drying, check to see if the the kernels are dry and brittle. Completely cool before packaging in small amounts.

Go to MU Extension's Food Preservation program for more home food preservation tips.

Source: National Center for Home Food Preservation

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