How to Freeze Sweet Corn

Yellow corn kernels on a corn cob, text "How to freeze sweet corn"

It's sweet corn season! Here's how to freeze corn on the cob or corn "off the cob" so you can enjoy it all year round.

How to Freeze Sweet Corn

A local family farm has been harvesting their corn this week and selling it by the bushel. Our whole community lines up to buy corn as soon as they harvest it.

Sweet corn is best when cooked and eaten or processed within a few hours of picking, so when we buy corn we don't stop until it's all canned, in the freezer, or on the grill for dinner.

Even though it takes up more room in the freezer we prefer corn on the cob, but I also froze some as kernel corn. It's great in my tortilla soup and other dishes.

Preserving kernel corn takes just one additional step: cutting the kernels off the cob.

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Processing corn for the freezer

Normally I pressure-can most vegetables instead of freezing them, but I was doing a small amount of kernel corn and I didn't want to haul out the pressure canner for just a couple of jars of kernel corn.

Plus, by freezing it, I can use a small amount and return the rest of the bag to the freezer to use later.

Blanching corn

Corn should be blanched to stop the action of enzymes that will destroy the nutrients and change the color, flavor and texture of frozen vegetables. Blanching is a simple treatment in boiling water. 

To blanch corn, bring a large kettle of water up to a rolling boil, add a couple of cleaned ears of corn (husks and silk removed), and bring the water back to boiling. 

Boil for 7-11 minutes if you're freezing it on the cob, and for 4-6 minutes if you are removing the kernels from the ears before freezing. 

The length of time you blanch it depends on the size of the ears: allow more time for larger ears.

Four yellow and white corn cobs blanching in a stock pot.

Begin timing when the water returns to a boil after you add the ears of corn. 

This should happen pretty quickly. If it's taking several minutes or more to return to boiling, reduce the number of ears you blanch at a time. I did 3-4 at once.

After blanching

Two yellow-and-white ears of sweet corn in a bowl, covered with ice and ice water.

When the timer dings, remove the ears of corn from the boiling water and plunge them into a bowl or sink of ice water. As the ice melts, add more. Leave the corn in the ice water for the same amount of time as you blanched it.

Place the ears on a towel so the excess water will drain off. 

For corn on the cob, place ears in a zippered freezer bag or use a Foodsaver to vacuum-seal and keep the freshness in longer.

When I sealed the first bag of corn on the cob, my Foodsaver sucked up some of the liquid in the kernels. This can damage the motor.

To prevent this, put the unsealed bags in the freezer for a couple of hours, then vacuum-seal them. It worked perfectly.

Several ears of yellow corn piled on a plate.

Freezing corn kernels (off the cob)

To cut the kernels off the cob after blanching, place the pointed end of the ear of corn in the center of an angel food cake or Bundt pan. Use a sharp knife to cut downwards and remove the kernels. The cake pan will catch the kernels. 

Very convenient! No more kernels flying down the kitchen counter.

Then package the kernels in meal-size portions in a zippered freezer bag or Foodsaver bag.

A woman's hand holding an ear of corn in an angel food cake pan, cutting the kernels off the cob.

What do with the leftover corn cobs

Corn cob jelly might sound kind of odd, but it's delicious! It tastes like honey, and can be used on toast or biscuits and so on.

I love being able to make "something" our of scraps that would normally go in the garbage or compost pile. You can learn how to make corn cob jelly here, from Taste of Home.

You'll find my food preservation tips and recipes here.

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Several ears of yellow sweet corn piled on a plate.

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