7 Scrumptious Ways to Preserve Corn

Corn can be either ridiculously easy to grow or downright awful, depending on the season. If grown properly, you will have lots of beautiful kernels to enjoy. In fact, you can have more than you can eat fresh without getting tired. Luckily, there are many great ways to preserve corn so you can eat it year-round.

1. Freeze It

This is by far the easiest and most time-consuming way to preserve your corn crop. This works for any sweet corn you would normally eat off the cob, and you can freeze it either by blanching or without blanching.

If you have a big enough freezer, you can just go ahead and freeze whole cobs. You don’t need to blanch them ahead of time; Put as many ears as you can in the freezer bag. Squeeze the excess air out of the bags, seal them well, date them, and pack them in your chest freezer.

Alternatively, if you want to save space in the freezer, you can scoop out the kernels from the pan. Simply boil those ears for about 10 minutes, remove them from the water, and let them cool to room temperature. Then remove the kernels with a large carving knife and cut them free. Transfer kernels to freezer bags, adding whatever portions you think you’ll need. Then press the bags flat, blowing out the excess air and letting them freeze in layers.

2. Make Maize Pickle

The taste of spicy sweet corn is amazing. You can use it on burgers, wrap it up, use it as a garnish on burrito bowls… you name it. Just look for a traditional sweet corn recipe that you love. Feel free to make adjustments to it, but try to avoid adding any other low-acid ingredients like beans. They can be delicious additions, but they will make long-term preservation more difficult.

I like to add a bit of minced jalapeno to my corn flavoring for some extra spice, but leave it out if you like it mild.

Once you’ve made the flavoring and transferred it to clean, sterilized jars, seal them and process them in a boiling water bath for 10 to 15 minutes. Once cooled and sealed (wait to pop!), you can store these for up to a year.

3. Pressure-Can Sweet Corn

Since corn is low acid (as mentioned), it cannot be canned safely in a hot water bath unless it has been marinated. Instead, if you want to preserve corn in a way that retains its flavor and texture, you’ll need to use a pressure canner.

Aim to process multiple jars in your canner at once or else, it may not reach the proper temperature and pressure needed to kill any potentially harmful bacteria.

Peel your corn cobs, remove all silk, and then break free the kernels. You can either hot pack or cold pack corn for canning. With cold packing, you transfer the kernels to clean, sterile jars and then cover them with boiling water.

Alternatively, hot packing requires you to boil the corn kernels in a saucepan and then transfer it to sterile jars while it is hot. Either way works well – just make sure you leave an inch of headspace when filling them in.

If you want your corn to really taste when the jar is opened, add a teaspoon of salt to each quart jar or 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each pint jar.

Once filled, put on the two-part lid and tighten the band slightly. Then process in your pressure canner at 10 pounds of pressure. Process 55 minutes for pint-sized jars or 1 hour 25 minutes for quart-sized jars. Just be sure to check the instructions on your pressure canner so that you can adjust the pressure according to your height as needed.

Remove the jars from the hot water and let them cool. Check the lids after 24 hours to make sure they are closed at the bottom and do not move up and down when pressed.

4. Dehydrate the Kernels

There are two different ways to dehydrate corn kernels: either hang up the ears and let them dry, or chop up the kernels and put them through a dehydrator.

I take the first route whenever possible, mostly because it’s the easiest way to go. This is what I take for milling and popcorn types instead of sweet corn.

To do this, pull the husk back and remove all the silk. If the corn is organic, save that silk, and dry it separately for medicinal use. Tie a strong cord in a warm, dry room, and then tie ears of corn around this cord. Leave them to hang here until the kernels are so brittle that they shatter when struck with a hammer.

Alternatively, you can remove all the kernels and spread them in your dehydrator tray. Make sure there is space between all the kernels for the hot air to circulate. Set the dehydrator to 125-130°F for 8-10 hours. Then check if the kernels have dried with a hammer.

If they are not, dry in additional 2-hour increments until they are brittle. Once completely dry, let them cool completely for a few hours. Then transfer to an airtight container such as a canning jar or a tightly-lid plastic container, and store for up to one year.

5. Mill corn into meal or flour

As an alternative to storing the kernels whole, you can add cornmeal to corn meal or cornstarch. Just make sure it’s completely dehydrated before grinding it. Additionally, you’ll need to add 1 tablespoon of pickled lime for every pound of dried corn you’re processing.

Choose a non-corrosive vessel such as glass or ceramic so that the lime won’t react with it. Add about 4 quarts of water to 2 lbs corn. Heat the water on high flame till it starts boiling and then dissolve 2 tbsp of lime in it.

Add your dry corn and mix well. After a few minutes, use a slotted spoon or strainer to remove any floaters. These pieces of corn may be rotting, and you don’t want them to contaminate your dough. Boil the rest for about 5 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat and let the corn soak for 8-12 hours. This will allow the lime and water to break down the kernels.

Filter the kernels through a sieve or sieve and wash with cold running water. Then transfer the corn a handful at a time to a rough dishcloth. Rub the corn kernels with a cloth until the yellow layer of the seed falls off, leaving only the inner white endosperm. Once all the hulls are removed, press the corn between two dry towels to remove any excess water.

Then, process the kernels with a grain mill or put them through a food processor. At this point, you can either use it to make instant tortillas, arepas, etc. or you can refrigerate it for a few days. Leftovers can be packaged in plastic bags and frozen, but be sure to use the ingredients within two to three weeks.

6. Preserve Corn with Salt

It is one of the oldest known methods of preserving food after drying. Salt has been used to cure and store food for the winter for thousands of years, and with good reason! The amount of salt you use to preserve your corn will determine whether it is lacto fermented, or in salt stagnation.

If you use only a little salt, you’ll create a product that tastes like corned kimchi. This type of salt pickle creates a product that is not as pungent or pungent as vinegar-soaked vegetables.

Conversely, the high-salt treatment puts the vegetables to a standstill. High salt basically replaces the cellular water of vegetables with delicious salty brine. Since salt is antibacterial, vegetables do not rot. Of course, you may need to rinse and boil the corn kernels a few times before eating them as they can be a bit too salty for most palates as they are.

To salt your corn, you’ll need kosher, pickled, or canning salt along with sterilized jars and fresh, washed corn. Weigh the kernels carefully, as you need 20% to 25% salt by weight per vegetable. This means that if you have 1lb corn kernels, you will use 1/4 pound of salt to cure them.

You’ll be placing layers of corn kernels alternately with layers of salt inside sterilized mason jars until you reach the top. Then place the cabbage leaf on top and weigh it down with a plastic bag or baking weight filled with water. Store it at a temperature between 65°F and 72°F for a couple of weeks. Then remove the weights, seal the jars, and store them in your refrigerator or cold cellar.

7. Make Corn Cob Jelly

Finally, after making all the delicious preserves mentioned above, you can make Corn Cob Jelly. Our ancestors never threw away anything until they used everything to its greatest potential. Corn cob jelly tastes like a cross between honey and summer sunshine and is a great way to squeeze every last edible bit out of your corn harvest.

Try making this jelly after a cookout or BBQ, as you need a dozen or so corn cobs to make jelly.

When you’ve eaten all the kernels off the cob, put them in a large pot and add enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 45-60 minutes. Then remove the shells and continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced by about 1/3.

Use a ladle to transfer 3 cups of this cob juice to a separate pot. If you don’t have 3 cups of water, you can add a little more water. As the temperature continues to rise, increase the heat and use a whisk to mix in 1 packet of powdered pectin. Then use that whisk to pour in 3 cups of sugar one cup at a time. Let this mixture come to a complete boil and let it boil well for 4 or 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and use a spoon or fat skimmer to remove any foam that may stick to the surface. Using a ladle and funnel, transfer ingredients to sterilized jelly jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Clean the rims before applying the two-piece lids and bands, then transfer to a canning bath of hot water. Process at a full boil for 10 minutes, then remove and let cool. Label clearly with date and ingredients and store for up to one year.

This jelly is gorgeous on pancakes or on toast, especially when you’re missing the sweet, warm weather in the depths of winter.

Now that you have some great ideas on how to preserve corn, don’t wait to start preserving your own! Whether you grow it yourself or get a bushel (or five) from the local farmers market, make sure not a single beautiful kernel goes to waste.

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