How to Freeze Corn - From Corn on the Cob!

If you like frozen niblets-type corn in the winter, just imagine how good it would taste if you had picked a couple of dozen ears yourself, or bought a couple dozen fresh ears from a farm stand and then quickly froze it at home! It is also one of the simplest ways to put up a vegetable for the winter. Here's how to do it, complete instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated. The corn will taste MUCH better than anything you've ever had from a store. These directions are for corn which you will cut off the cob.

Directions for Freezing Corn
Ingredients and Equipment

* fresh corn on the cob - any quantity. I figure 1.5 ears per serving.
* 1 Large pot of boiling water
* Vacuum food sealer or "ziploc" type freezer bags (the freezer bag version is heavier and protects better against freezer burn.
* 2 large bowls, one filled with cold water and ice.
* 1 sharp knife
* 1 Large spoon

Ideal ear - ripe but not bloated. the kernels are still tender (easily punctured with your fingernail) and the juice is milky). White, yellow or bicolor types are all fine!


Step 1 - Get yer corn!

Start with fresh corn on the cob - as fresh as you can get. If there is a delay between harvesting and freezing, put it in the refrigerator or put ice on it. The sugars break down quickly at room temperature.

Step 2 - Husk the corn

Husk the corn and pick off as much of the silk as you can. A soft vegetable brush is the fastest and easiest way to get the remaining silk off - just don't be too rough with it.

Step 3 - Get the pots ready

Get the pot off boiling water ready (about 2/3 filled) and a LARGE bowl with ice and cold water.

Step 4 - Blanch the corn.

All fruits and vegetables contain enzymes that, over time, break down the destroy nutrients and change the color, flavor, and texture of food during frozen storage. Corn requires a brief heat treatment, called blanching, in boiling water or steam, to destroy the enzymes before freezing. Blanching times generally vary from one to 10 minutes, depending on the vegetable. the duration should be just long enough to stop the action of the enzymes.

Begin counting the blanching time as soon as you place the corn in the boiling water. Cover the kettle and boil at a high temperature for the required length of time. You may use the same blanching water several times (up to 5). Be sure to add more hot water from the tap from time to time to keep the water level at the required height.

Blanching time varies depending on the type of frozen corn you are making: cut-whole kernel, cream style or corn-on-the-cob:

Blanching times, for freezing the corn:


Whole Kernel Corn. - 4 to 6minutes.

Cream style corn - 4 to 6 minutes.

Note: It's my opinion that best results come from whole kernel or cream style. Personally, I don't recommend freezing it on the cob: it takes up too much space in the freezer, and gets too mushy.

Note: UC Davis research has shown that super sweet varieties typically require a 4 min blanch.

Step 5 - Cool the corn

Cool corn immediately in ice water. Drain the corn thoroughly.

After vegetables are blanched, cool them quickly to prevent overcooking. Plunge the corn into a large quantity of ice-cold water (I keep adding more ice to it). A good rule of thumb: Cool for the same amount of time as the blanch step. For instance, if you blanch sweet corn for 7 minutes, then cool in ice water for 7 minutes.

Drain thoroughly.

Step 6 - Cut the kernels from the cob

Obviously, if you are freezing the corn on the cob, skip this step.

Whole Kernel Corn ? Cut kernels from cob about 2/3 the depth of the kernels. I hold the ear by the small end, and slide the knife down the ear.

Cream Style Corn ? Cut kernel tips about 1/2 deep and scrape the cobs with the back of a knife to remove the juice and the heart of the kernel.

Another way to prepare cream style corn for freezing is to cut and scrape the corn from the cob without blanching. Place the cut corn in a double boiler, and heat with constant stirring for about 10 minutes or until it thickens; allow to cool by placing the pan in ice water.
You don't need a special tool, just a very sharp knife!
Close up, the corn comes off in strips. As you put these in the bag, they will easily separate into separate kernels.

Step 7 - bag the corn

I love the FoodSavers with their vacuum sealing! I am not paid by them, but these things really work. If you don't have one, ziploc bags work, too, but it is hard to get as much air out of the bags. remove the air to prevent drying and freezer burn.
FoodSaver really sucks out all the air, so the corn won't dry out or get freezer burn. That means the food inside will last many times longer. I've been using them (and their predecessor in the marketplace, Seal-a-Meal) for many years.

Step 8 - Label the bags!

"Sharpie" marking pens work well on plastic and won't rub off.

Step 9 - Done!

Pop them into the freezer, on the quick freeze shelf, if you have one!

Later, when you are ready to serve the corn, it just takes about 3 or 4 minutes in the microwave (from frozen) or in the top of a double boiler. It doesn't need to be "cooked", just heated up!


* Harvest early in the morning, especially if the weather is hot, to get peak flavor.
* Harvest the corn at its peak maturity (milky fluid in the kernels, kernels tender, and not bloated). Immature corn is watery when cooked and over-ripe corn is chewy and doughy.
* Process promptly after harvesting, or keep cooled in the fridge or with ice until then.