During the hot summer months, nothing tastes better than biting into crisp corn on the cob. As corn is harvested during these warmer months, peak season is often in the middle of summer, so we often wonder how to keep corn fresh.
By learning about keeping corn fresh, we can enjoy the taste of summer even during the colder winter months. When it comes to learning how to preserve corn, what method you use depends on how soon you plan to use the corn.
For those planning to use the new ears within a week, it’s pretty simple. When storing sweet corn for consumption in a few days, put it in the crisper drawer or put it on ice as soon as possible after harvesting or purchasing.
Cooling it right away helps slow how fast the sugars break down, which keeps it crisp longer and gives you time to store it based on your preferred process.
Tips on Keeping Corn Fresh
Different types of vegetables require varying storage techniques to preserve freshness. What works for keeping potatoes fresh does not apply to corn or tomatoes.
Nothing beats the taste of freshly harvested corn on the cob. Learn the many ways you can store it.
How to Choose Fresh Corn
Learning how to pick raw corn is vital to keeping it. If you don’t start with a new ear of corn, it certainly isn’t going to store well. Many people believe that we must peel back the husk on an ear of corn to check it, but that is counterproductive.
It increases the spoilage rate as the raw corn is no longer protected. Instead, look closely at the corn’s husk. Is it wrapped tightly around the ear of the corn, and is it bright green? If so, check the kernels to see if they are healthy.
Gently squeeze the ear of corn to determine how the kernels feel; they should be firm and plump. Never purchase corn with black or dried out silk and avoid any ears with brown or black spots on the husk.
How to Keep Corn Fresh Longer
The first rule to follow when keeping corn fresh is to leave the husk on. The same applies with keeping onions fresh – keep the skin intact.
With corn, the moment you harvest it from its stalk, it begins drying out; the shell protects the kernels inside from air that speeds up the drying and decaying process.
The older the corn is, the starchier it is. For maximum taste and crispness, use the corn the same day you harvest it or buy it from the store.
If not using it right away, keep it inside the crisper drawer in your fridge. Keeping corn fresh inside the refrigerator requires leaving it in its husk inside a plastic bag. Store it for up to seven days when following this process.
If you purchase corn already husked or are in the habit of peeling it once you get home, use the same steps as above.
Wrap the corn inside a plastic bag and place it in the crisper drawer of your fridge. This leads many to wonder how long do corn last in the fridge, which in this case, is two days.
How to Can Corn for Maximum Freshness in the Winter
If you are after the best way to enjoy crisp, sweet corn in the cold winter months, canning corn is the best way to go. Plus, it serves as a way to keep raw corn without taking up valuable freezer space.
For the best way to store corn on the cob, husk and then remove the silk from the ears. If using a vegetable brush, be gentle, as it can damage the kernels. Cut the kernels from the ears; how deep depends if you are canning regular corn kernels or want to can cream-style corn.
For regular kernels, cut with a knife about ¾ of the way down the kernels. For creamed style corn, cut halfway down. Use the back of the blade to squeeze out the heart of the kernel and the juice from the remaining kernels left on the cob.
Measure the kernels with a measuring cup and dump them into a large pot. Add one cup of water per each quart you plan on canning. Heat the corn and water until boiling and let cook on low for five minutes.
Ladle into quart-sized jars, but leave one-inch of headspace. Remove the air bubbles with a thin spatula and add more liquid if needed. Wipe down the rims of the canning jars.
Secure them with a lid and a ring, but only fingertip tight. Process in a pressure canner. Corn is a low-acid food, so water bath canning is not safe. For processing times, check your manual for altitude and cooking time.
Where to store corn that has been canned is the pantry or in another cool, dark location. It will last two to three years stored this way.
How to Freeze Raw Corn
When it comes to freezing corn, there are two ways to freeze – the entire ear or cut the kernels off the cob. Either grilling or blanching the corn before freezing is acceptable – use the one you prefer.
If grilling the corn before freezing, there is no need to shuck the corn first. Place on the grill inside the husks and cook as usual. If blanching, shuck the corn while you are boiling water.
Make a large bowl of ice water; how much ice you require depends on how many ears of corn you are preparing. On average, each ear requires one tray of ice.
Once the pot reaches a rolling boil, drop in the ears of corn. The water should return to a full boil within one minute. If it takes longer, the pot is too small, or there is too much corn in it. Cover and boil for three minutes.
Remove the ears and place them directly in the cold water. The ice water stops the cooking process. Cool the corn for three minutes. Drain the corn and then proceed based on whether you are freezing the whole cob or the kernels.
To freeze corn kernels, cut them from the cob. Cut about 2/3 of the way down the kernel for best results; the same depth applies to grilled corn.
The kernels come off the cob in strips but separate into individual kernels upon placement inside the freezer bags. Once the container is full, remove as much air as you can, seal and then place inside the freezer.
For whole ears of raw corn, the blanching process takes longer, seven minutes for smaller ears, nine minutes for medium-sized ears, and 11 minutes for large ears. Chill corn in ice water for the same time you boiled it.
Vacuum seal the ears of corn to prevent the corn from drying out or becoming freezer burned. If using plastic freezer bags, wrap each ear in plastic wrap before placing inside the freezer bag. Remove all the air, seal, label, and then place the corn in the freezer.
How Long Does Corn Last?
Does corn go bad? Of course. How long does corn last depends on how you store it. If appropriately stored in the crisper drawer with the husk, it keeps for up to five days. If cooked, store it in an airtight container inside the fridge for up to five days.
If cooked corn remains on the cob, wrap in aluminum foil before placing it in an airtight container. Frozen corn keeps up to one year, so always label the bag with the date and the measurements.
Quick pickled corn lasts a couple of weeks in the refrigerator – if you don’t eat it all by that time.
Canned corn stays shelf-stable for up to two years, so label the corn with the date. Use frozen and canned corn in the same manner; frozen corn doesn’t have to thaw before use.
Thank you for learning all about keeping corn fresh and how to tell if a corn is fresh.
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