After testing several different ways to freeze sweet corn, I'm sharing the BEST way in terms of texture, flavor and ease of prep!Jump to Recipe
If you don't know where I'm from, this post juuuuust might give it away! Us Iowans (and those from other midwest states) sure do love our sweet corn, so much so that we'll freeze the fresh corn to enjoy as a side dish year round.
And from a little research, I learned that everyone does it just a little differently. So last summer, I bought a whole bunch of corn, shucked it and froze it using three different methods.
After 11 months in the freezer, I heated each of them up and did a taste test. I'll walk you through each variation, talk through the results and give you my favorite recipe at the end!
How to Freeze Sweet Corn: The Methods
For all of the variations, the corn was first shucked and silks removed. The corn was all purchased from the same farm and prepared on the same day. Note that seasoning in the experiment is very simple so the focus was on flavor and texture of the corn. The corn was frozen in freezer baggies with 2 cups of corn each.
A. Boil, Cut, Freeze
The corn cobs were boiled for 6 minutes each. I was able to fit 6 cobs in my pot at a time, so I cooked them in batches until they were all cooked. As soon as they came out of the boiling water, they went into an ice bath. I used a cooler full of ice water as the ice bath. Once they were completely cool, I used a serrated knife to cut the corn off the cob. I measured 10 cups of corn in a large bowl and stirred in 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon sugar. It was then scooped into freezer bags and frozen.
Why test this method? This was the most popular response when asked how followers cook their sweet corn.
B. Cut, Boil, Freeze
A serrated knife was used to cut the corn off the cob. 10 cups of corn went into a large pot with 2 cups water, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon sugar. The mixture was heated at medium-high heat and boiled for 5 minutes. The corn was poured into large shallow pans to cool the mixture. Once the corn was cool, it was scooped into freezer bags and frozen.
Why test this method? This was also a popular response. It uses fewer large containers (no ice bath needed) and time in the kitchen seemed to be shorter than in method A.
C. Cut, Add Brine, Freeze
A serrated knife was used to cut the corn off the cob. Each freezer bag was filled with 2 cups of the raw corn. A brine was made in a liquid measuring cup: 2 ½ cups warm water, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon salt. The brine was stirred until the sugar and salt were dissolved. ½ cup of the brine was poured into each bag of corn, then the corn was frozen.
Why test this method? This was a method I was super intrigued by as it seemed to save a lot of time and heat in the kitchen (no boiling!).
How to Freeze Sweet Corn: The Results
The bags of corn were first thawed overnight. Then the bags were cooked one at a time. For Methods A & B, they simply needed reheated. They were heated on medium-high heat until piping hot. For Method C, I boiled the mixture for about 5-7 minutes, as the kernels were frozen raw.
Method A: This one was very good and was a close second to the winner. The flavor and texture was great; those who tasted thought the corn was a little more bland than Method B.
Method B: This is exactly when I want when I pull a bag of sweet corn out of the freezer and is my personal preference! The texture and flavor was wonderful; all-around the favorite.
Method C: I wanted so bad for this one to be the favorite....it's just SO easy to make. However, it fell flat in terms of flavor and texture. Even after boiling 5-7 minutes, it still had a raw corn flavor and the flavor was bland.
Tips for Freezing Sweet Corn
- Plan to shuck the corn outside. If you've done this before, you know it can be a sticky job! Keep the messy husks and silks out of the house so you'll have a clean kitchen when you begin cooking!
- Set up your stations before starting. Make sure you've got a large, clean work area and gather the supplies you'll need. You'll need large stock pot or saucepan, a sharp knife, measuring cups, large spoons, salt, sugar, plenty of freezer bags, a large cooler for the ice water bath, etc.
- Use an angel food cake or bundt pan to hold the ear of corn and to catch the corn kernels (see photo below). A cousin gave me this tip years ago and I love how it keeps the cob from slipping out of your hand while cutting!
- Cut the corn off the cob with an electric knife. If you have an electric serrated knife (like what you can use to carve a ham), it's super helpful when cutting corn off the cob. Your arms will be less sore the following day, ha!
- Remove as much air out of the bag as possible before freezing. Air left in the bag can lead to freezer burn over time, so try to remove as much as possible.
- Place the bags of corn in single layers on a baking sheet. This is the easiest way to make sure they freeze flat and makes the best use of freezer space!
- Gather some help and turn on the tunes! Freezing corn was always a family affair for us. It took some time, but as they always say "many hands make light work." And when you've got some good music or a podcast to listen to, the time flies by!
Frequently Asked Questions
Whether you're picking the corn in your backyard, grabbing it from the farmer's market or the grocery store, you want to choose the best cobs possible. If you have a choice, I like the variety with white AND yellow kernels. I find them to have lots of natural sugars that are so yummy! Then, pull a little bit of the husk down and look at the tip of the corn. If it's mushy, pass. If it's nice and yellow with well-hydrated silks, that's a great start!
If you want to use Tupperware instead of baggies, you certainly can. Be sure to allow a little bit of room for the juices to expand while freezing.
We would always freeze the corn in July/August and it would be good for about a year...or until the next harvest! 🙂
You can really use freezer corn just like you'd use fresh sweet corn right off the cob. Use it in delicious recipes such as corn chowder, Mexican corn salad, cornbread pudding, and everything in between! My favorite way to enjoy it is simply heating it up with a little butter and enjoying it as-is!
Other Iowa Favorites
I always say that there are three foods I think of when I talk about Iowa: Sweet corn, pork and scotcheroos! Now that I've got the sweet corn complete, I think I've nailed the Iowa trifecta! 🙂
Dr Pepper Pulled Pork is always a great option when feeding a crowd. It's easy and makes the tastiest sandwiches!
Scotcheroos are an Iowa classic - a no bake treat that nobody seems to be able to resist!
Ever heard of Ham Balls?! Tender and juicy ham balls are coated in a delicious sweet and tangy sauce. This Iowa staple is perfect for potlucks, family gatherings and special occasions!
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