We interrupt this year’s tomatothon to bring you corn-ucopia
August 22, 2015
(NOTE: As in previous post, this was written last night, and I just got pics downloaded and edited a bit. While I’m taking a break in tomatoes.)
It’s a good thing I love corn.
Because I have been up to my eyeballs in it all day. I have husked corn, silked corn, cut corn off the cob, and blanched corn (and am still blanching some even as I type). I have yet to parcel the corn out into plastic cartons and convey it to the freezer.
I have a 8-quart stockpot almost full of corn. I have a 6.5-quart Dutch oven full of corn. By my calculations, that ought to net me some 30-ish pints of corn for the freezer. Correction: It was 20 pints.
I don’t think I have enough freezer cartons. Gulp. Dollar Tree run early in the morning. Or I could use freezer bags. Might just do that.Update: Ran 10 cartons short. Freezing corn in recycled Pancho’s cheese dip, fresh mozzarella, and sour cream containers. Twenty pints of corn cooling on the counter. Hope I have freezer room.
Anyway, one stockpot is cooling, and the other one is about done cooking. I have worked all day on a bushel of corn, minus about 18 ears — a dozen I’m giving a friend, and six I didn’t have room for in the last pot and decided I’d keep out for dinner tonight or tomorrow. Likely tomorrow, as I’m way too tired to cook anything tonight. Gonna be cheese and olives and wine. Plus, my hands are cramping from cutting off corn all day.
I commenced about 9 this morning, while it was still cool, sitting outside in the carport to shuck my way through the bag. Just easier to do outside; you don’t have to chase errant silks all over the kitchen floor. Those little suckers get everywhere.
This was really pretty corn. Good clean, filled-out ears, for the most part. I found one borer worm, and half a dozen ears with spots of smut, but mostly good, juicy corn.
Which will taste so nice in February.
Freezing corn is a lot of work, but it’s not complicated work. It’s repetitive, time-consuming, hard-on-the-muscles work. My hands are cramping from working in it all day. My hip and my back hurt from standing for some four-five hours. (Wine is making it all better.) Essentially, one pulls the husk from each ear, removes the silks, or as many of them as possible, from each ear, cuts the corn off the cob, and goes back over the cob with the backside of the knife to extract the “milk.” Times about 100.
The bag of corn, which was supposed to be roughly 60 ears, was at least 100. I think. (It was also the largest “bushel” I’ve ever encountered. If anyone could get that much corn in a bushel basket, he’s a better arranger of corn than I woud be.) I judge the number because I’ve done 48 ears of corn at a time before, and those husked, silked ears filled one side of my sink. This was two sinks’ worth.
Cutting off corn can be an extremely messy endeavor, particularly when you take to scraping the cob. I’ve found the best way to work it involves putting the dish that catches the kernels in the bottom of the sink, standing the ear up in it, and cutting and scraping there. It at least keeps the splatter contained.
When you get your pot full of corn, or as full as you can stand it before you have to sit down and take a break — this is a time-consuming process — add some water. I’m guessing, to my eight-quart stockpot almost full of corn, I probably added a cup and a half. I prefer to freeze my corn fairly dry. I’m going to be adding butter and milk….well, likely cream….when I cook it, after all.
I simmer it for about 20 minutes. The cooking stops the conversion of sugars in the fresh kernels into starches, and is what gives fresh corn its impossibly sweet taste. I don’t season, and I don’t add anything else. This is just to get it to the “starter” point for dinners to come.
Then I turn off the heat and set it aside to cool, and when it cools a bit, I ladle it out into containers and let it finish cooling before I snap the lids on. Be sure to leave about a half-inch head space; it’ll expand as it freezes. Mine are presently waiting to have the lids clicked down and to be stowed in the freezer….which I need to arrange to accommodate it.
And I still have 25-ish pounds of tomatoes to do tomorrow. After the Farmers Market. Before the grandchild gets here. At which point we will see how many more tomatoes we need to scare up, if we can find ’em.
Good food takes some work. It’s worth it. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em want to throw in, next year I’ll bring back more corn and we can all share.