Corn

Sum-sum-summertime!

Just remember that old adage – have the water boiling before you go out and pick the corn! Or in other words, eat that corn before too many days go by. And refrigerate it until you do eat it.

The boiling thing was good advice before the very sweet hybrid corns came into existence. These days, the corn in our boxes is going to be very sweet and stay that way for a while. But eventually those sugars will turn to starch, so enjoy it quickly if you can.

If you didn’t eat that corn when the box arrived, I hope you’ll eat it tonight. Sure, you could store it, but what would be the point? Here you are with corn as fresh from the farm as possible … why would you wait to enjoy its sweetness? So – take a sharp serrated knife and cut off the tops, husk and all. Toss the worms to your backyard wildlife. If you’re going to roast your corn in the husk, then just peel the husks back and brush off the silks. This is much easier to do dry than if you try to do it under running water. Pull the husks back up, give them a little soak to keep the husks from burning on the grill, and then put them on the grill long enough to char the husks and infuse the corn with a lovely smoky flavor. Or … corn this fresh really doesn’t need cooking. You could just cut it off the cob and mix it the salad of your choice, or toss it with the cilantro and some lemon or lime juice for a yummy corn salsa.

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as throwing those ears of corn in the freezer as is. Corn, like most fruits and vegetables, needs to be blanched before freezing. Blanching can be done by either boiling or steaming, and it destroys the enzymes that would break down the texture of your corn as it sits in the freezer. Fortunately, it’s easy to do and doesn’t take too long.

Here’s my method. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water is heating, shuck your corn and remove all the silks. When the water comes to a boil, drop in the ears of corn and cover the pot. You should only be adding enough corn so that the water returns to a boil within a minute.

Once the water is boiling again, time it. You want to cook the corn for about 4 minutes. When the time’s up, remove the corn from the hot water and cool it in an ice bath.

When the corn is cool, cut the kernels from the cobs and store them in freezer containers in amounts that work for recipes you normally use. I like to freeze my corn in 2-cup and 4-cup batches.

Now when those field peas start arriving, you’ll have corn in the freezer ready to join the field peas in a big bowl of succotash. Yum.

Need directions for cutting the corn off the cob? The biggest problems folks seem to have are kernels flying all over the place and cobs slipping around. Try this method.

Place a large bowl on a damp towel. Fold a paper towel or dish towel into fourths and place it inside the container. Stand one ear of corn on the paper towel, using the stem as a handle. Using a paring knife, slice downward, letting the kernels fall into the container. Rotate the cob and continue until all the kernels have been removed; discard the cob. Did that work better for you?