Putting Food By

In generations past, one of the responsibilities of the housewife was ‘putting food by’ for the winter. In Proverbs 31 we see this same quality of taking care of the family’s needs and even having extra to help with those in need. In our culture today with the busyness of people’s lives, with many wives working outside the home, and with the easy accessibility of pre-processed foods, the concept of putting food by for the winter has become more and more of a lost art. But it is one that can help you through tough financial times when grocery money is scarce. Having a freezer and a pantry filled with produce from the garden (or farmer’s market) can relieve a lot of stress in very stressful financial times.

We do not have the ability to have a large garden to provide a great deal of our own produce, but I try to take advantage of sales available locally to stock up on summer foods that will be much costlier in the winter. Today I’ll share how to take corn in the husk (on sale this week at the store) and prepare it for freezing for winter use.

If you have access to your own fresh corn, be sure and use it IMMEDIATELY after picking to preserve the best taste. If you purchase it, try and use it as soon as possible after coming home from the store. If you must wait, refrigerate it to preserve flavor. The longer you wait, the more the taste will break down, so plan to process your corn the day you purchase it.

Tools and ingredients needed:
very large pot (I use my canner)
a second large pot
freezer ziplock-type bags (quart size)
large amount of ice
sharp knife or corn cutter (I bought mine at Grummerts for less than $4)

First, shuck your corn (peel off the husk) and remove as much of the silk from the corn as possible. Place the corn (I can fit 2 dozen easily into my canner) into rapidly boiling water and cover. This part is called Blanching. You are not thoroughly cooking the corn, you are simply heating it enough to stop the enzymes from degenerating the corn and losing nutrients and flavor. You will keep the corn in the boiling water 4-8 minutes (I generally do it for 6 min).

Next you need to STOP the cooking process. You will have your second large pot ready filled with ice covered with cold water. Take the corn from the boiling pot and place it in the ice water pot. You will keep it in the cold water just as long as it was in the boiling.

Then you will take your corn cutter (or your sharp knife) and cut the corn off the cob. It will come off in sheets. Don’t worry about that. Then you place it into your ziplock bags, either filling the bags to within 1 inch of the top (you must leave space for expansion during freezing) OR measure your standard amounts for your recipes into the bags. I place 2 1/2 c per bag because that is how much I use in most of my recipes.

It is best if your corn is cold before freezing. I place them into the fridge for about an hour to cool it thoroughly and then lie them flat into the freezer. Once they are frozen solid, you can stack them up for organization and efficient storage.

2 dozen ear of corn yield about 5-6 quart size bags filled with 2 1/2 c of corn each.

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