One of my favorite things to do in the summer (around July 4th here in Indiana) is to buy a lot of sweet corn and put it up for the winter. And I do mean a lot of sweet corn. For the two of us that often means 100-150 ears at once. It’s a good day’s work, but well worth it later in the year, specially when I can use it to make great-tasting dishes like this slow cooker chili cheese corn. I really enjoy cooking corn in the slow cooker. The corn keeps it’s light crunch, and all of the sweetness. Add bit of roasted green chiles and cream cheese and you have a truly fantastic side dish. For a little more kick, use diced roasted jalapenos instead. Or for less kick, roast a poblano (or even green bell pepper) under your broiler until blackened, then remove the burnt skin, seeds and chop. No matter what you use, it’ll add a nice contrast to the sweetness and creaminess of the corn.
I wait. And I wait. For that moment, each year, that first day, when My Dad’s Sweet Corn announces the corn is ready. Their sweet corn is absolutely amazing. Sweet and juicy and perfect. On that day, the first day, when it is at its peak, I rush to the farmer’s market early in the morning and I load up. And I load up big. Sweet corn season 2016 has begun. Having such fantastic sweet corn on hand in winter makes the winter seem a lot less harsh. It reminds me of summer and warm sunny days. That beats the heck out of shoveling snow, that’s for sure!
Quickly blanching the corn and shocking it in an ice bath keeps the corn tasty and sweet. I add a bit of sugar to the water to make up for the flavor that is lost with the first batch or two. After that the water is full of corn flavored goodness, so every batch comes out tasting great.
Sweet corn-on-the-cob (I had 6 baker's dozen worth)
A large pot (one with a pasta insert works best)
An outdoor propane burner (you can use your stovetop, but it's going to be messy)
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 large bags of ice
A large cooler
A large bowl (or two)
Shuck the corn just before beginning.
Place the pot onto the lit burner or stovetop over high heat.
Add the sugar and stir and let the water come to a brisk boil.
Add the ice to the cooler and fill nearly to the top with cold water.
Working in batches, add 8 ears of corn to the pot (you can add more if your pot is large, but do not crowd them or they won't cook evenly).
Return the water to a boil and boil for exactly 4 minutes. No more.
Remove the corn from the pot and immediately transfer to the ice bath.
You can start the next batch of corn. As soon as it starts to boil, remove the corn from the ice bath (test to make sure it's nice and cold) and transfer to a cutting board.
Cut the kernels from the ears. I stand the ears on the cut end at about a 75 degree angle then carefully run my knife from top to bottom, removing about 75% of the kernels. I think having the ear at a slight angle and using a very sharp knife reduces the amount of kernels that fly off all over the place. Don't cut all the way to the ear.
Transfer cut kernels to a large bowl and continue cooking, cooling and cutting the ears until all done.
If any kernels are stuck together use your hands to break them apart in the bowl.
Transfer kernels to the bags. Two cups equals about a can of corn, but I usually add 3 cups to a 1 quart bag.
Try to not get the inside of the bag opening wet when filling. This may cause the bags to not seal properly. If you do get them wet dry them off with a paper towel.
Transfer the bags to the freezer for 4-6 hours or until the liquid is frozen.
Seal the vacuum bags with your sealer and freeze until needed. I use the 'moist' and 'gentle' settings on my sealer to help ensure a good seal.
We loved the grilled corn disks with honey butter that we made recently. Sweet corn is in season here in Indiana, and that’s always a good thing. Nothing beats fresh sweet corn. But, I after eating those yummy little bites dipped in sweet honey and butter, I figured, well, I need something with a bit more kick. So I made grilled corn disks with southwestern butter. Equally as good as the sweet version, but with a little kick. The heat is the perfect contrast to the corn’s natural sweetness.
Leftover butter (if you have any) goes on anything, but it’s specially good on corn bread or biscuits.
July 4th marks the beginning of corn season here in Indiana. It’s when the best corn starts to become available at our local farmer’s markets. Nothing beats fresh sweet corn… unless you have something even sweeter to put on it. These grilled corn disks with honey butter are easy to make and look and taste great.
If you want to kick the honey butter even more, add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper and throw a few jalapeno rings in with the corn disks.
Winters here can be rather long. We like to put up some sweet corn for those cold, gray months – it’s like summer in a bag. Just as sweet and juicy as the day it was picked.
The only corn we buy is from My Dad’s Sweet Corn, from nearby Tipton, Indiana. Fortunately for us we don’t have to drive to Tipton since MDSC is at all of our local farmer’s markets.
I wait until the corn is at its peak. This year it was the week after July 4th. Last year, I bought 5 dozen ears (they actually sell them as baker’s dozens). Because of the drought in 2012, the corn, although as sweet as always, was certainly smaller than it is most years. This year, the weather has been great and the corn was absolutely fantastic. So… I bought over 100 ears! Yes, 8 dozen. Two 100 pound potato sacks worth (fortunately they helped me get it to my car)! Well, we now have enough corn for winter, that’s for sure!
There are probably other ways of putting corn up for the winter. This is how I do it. I am always looking for ideas, though, so if you also put corn up and you do it differently, please respond in the comments so we can share ideas.
Eight dozen corn ears. Actually, it came to 108 ears total. Quite the load!
Beautiful corn harvest this year. Sweet and yummy!
Boiling a batch in a 30-quart stock pot over a Bayou Classic Outdoor Gas Cooker. You can do this inside on a stove too, of course, but it’s a little less messy outdoors.
A large pot (I used a 30 quart stock pot with a basket)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 22 pound bags ice
1 large cooler (I used an old 60 quart Igloo)
1 large bath towel
1 large bowl
1 small glass bowl
1 small towel
I sharp chef's knife
Vacuum freezer bags and vacuum sealer
Shuck the corn. Yes, it might take a while. Just pull up a chair and get to it. And the silk? I've found it's just easier to remove them by hand, even though there are tons of gadgets out there that supposedly do it better. Shucking corn is quality time for me. Enjoy it!
Put the ice into the cooler and add water to nearly fill it to the top. This will be the ice bath used to stop the corn from cooking after you remove it from the boiling water.
Fill your pot with water and place over high heat and bring to a boil. I use an outdoor propane burner from Bayou Classics. It boils water in a jiffy, and as an added bonus it sounds really cool.
Add the sugar to the water. I do this because I believe that the first batch of corn loses some sweetness to the water, so I add a bit of sugar. After the first batch, the water gets flavor from the corn so I no longer add any more sugar.
Add the corn in batches, but do not overcrowd. Let it boil for 5 minutes.
Remove corn to the ice bath and start your next batch boiling.
As soon as the corn is cold remove it to the bath towel and dry it just slightly. You don't have to get it perfect,you just want to sop up and excess water. You can also just shake the excess water off.
Put the small bowl, upside down, in the center of the large bowl. Cover the small bowl with the small towel. This is where you will cut the kernels from the corn. The towel keeps the ears from sliding around (and you getting cut).
Take each ear and stand it straight up (shank side down) on the small bowl and towel. Holding it at the very tip, run your knife down the sides, close to the ear, cutting off all of the kernels. The kernels will fall into the big bowl, preventing you from making a big mess! Get as much as the kernel goodness as you can.
Continue working in batches until all of the corn has been boiled and the kernels removed.
Now, place the kernels into the vacuum bags. I use quart-sized bags and put about 4 cups in each bag. This is roughly the equivalent of 2 cans of corn.
Place the bags into the freezer unsealed. You want the corn to nearly freeze first. Otherwise the moisture will make it impossible to seal them.
After a few hours, remove the bags and seal them per your sealer's instructions.
Note: If you have room in your freezer, it is worth saving some of the water you boiled the corn in for soups or chowders.
I was making our favorite tacos the other night when I decided I really wanted some sweet corn with them (along with some easy jazzed-up refried beans). I found a bag of the best sweet corn (from My Dad’s Sweet Corn in Tipton, Indiana) in the freezer and made this great Fiesta corn side dish. If you’re not lucky enough to have My Dad’s Sweet Corn, canned will do, but trust me… it’s not the same (but still good)!
Every summer I put up a huge batch of local fresh sweet corn for the winter. It takes a bit of work, but it is so worth it in the dead of winter. Nothing beats being able to have (almost) fresh corn when there’s a few feet of snow on the ground!
We don’t ever need an excuse to eat good ole sweet corn from My Dad’s Sweet Corn in nearby Tipton, Indiana. When it is at its peak in the summer we go to our local Binford farmer’s market and load up. We blanch it and freeze it for the winter time, when eating it reminds us of summer and warmer weather.This Mexican corn soup from Ingrid Hoffman is a great way to showcase a good sweet corn. True, I strayed from the original recipe, but the end result was great nonetheless!
Whoa, these crispy corn fritters were good. I had some sweet corn in the freezer left from our favorite corn farm, My Dad’s Sweet Corn in Tipton, Indiana. Their corn is so sweet and delicious. It made these fritters into something special!