I must start by saying that this is a secret family recipe, but I like you so I want to share it with you.
Frozen sweet corn and dumplings are the two foods that I request every time I go back home to visit family in Wisconsin. One of the bittersweet facts of life is that the sweet corn season is a short one. So take my advice, get your hands on some fresh corn on the cob and freeze it for later! It’s quite simple to prepare, and I don’t know why it took me so long to try. Now I can enjoy sweet corn all winter. Well, if I don’t eat it all at once.
My first instinct is to immediately consume any corn on the cob within reach. One ear of corn is never enough. Two ear minimum. But this year, I missed my grandma’s frozen sweet corn so much that I decided to try making some for myself over the summer. (One major drawback of living so far from my parents is no regular deliveries of this wonderfulness.) It was much easier than I had imagined and turned out so well that next year, I am making double.
I was a bit spoiled growing up in that my mom could literally walk out of our door, cross the yard, and pick some of our neighbor’s sweet corn for dinner that night. (WITH their approval, of course. We weren’t barbarians.) The fresher the corn, the better. In the middle of DC, on the other hand, I was able to locate some great sweet corn at the Dupont Farmer’s Market.
To start making this recipe –also known as ‘gold’ or ‘crack’ in our home– you have to shuck a bit of corn. A dozen ears should be plenty to get 10 cups of kernels. And do try to take off as many off those annoying silky hairs as possible. This is a great task to assign to helpers, if you know what I mean.
Cut the kernels off the cob, and please note: corn be messssy. Then quickly blanch the corn with some salt, sugar, and a heap of butter. (Worth it.) Three minutes is all it takes. Then, and don’t skip this step, let the corn cool down before transferring to freezer bags. I like to divide and freeze the corn in small batches so it’s ready to go for dinner any time. And if you flatten out the bags, they’re easier to store.
Growing up, sweet corn season always meant a major production at my grandma’s. Major because she had fields of sweet corn to take care of, and it all ripened at the same time. The grandchildren were given the task of shucking all of the corn outside in a little trailer. Good one, grandma. Least desirable job.
I have vague memories of tons of pots of corn all cooking at the same time, steam billowing in the kitchen, and then the pots quickly being placed in the bath tub to cool. We made a huge ice bath in the tub to cool the multiple pots rapidly, to get that corn into bags and then start all over again. A family tradition that every helper benefited from. I hope you try it – one or two batches doesn’t have to be a major production. Maybe your grandkids will even be obsessed with it someday.
- 1 ½ cups water
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 stick butter (4 oz.)
- 10 cups sweet corn kernels
- Remove the husks from the cobs of corn and clean off any silky hairs. Cut the corn kernels off the cob. Measure out 10 cups of corn.
- Add the water, sugar, salt, and butter into a large, deep pot. Bring to a boil and then add the corn. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring regularly. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
- Divide the corn, along with the juice, among four sturdy quart-size Ziploc bags and freeze.
- To serve, take a bag of corn out of the freezer and defrost in warm water (in the bag). Transfer the corn to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the corn is heated through, and then serve warm.