Have you got a cornucopia of corn starting to come in? Or maybe you just really enjoy crunching on fresh kernels from a grocery store? Well, if you want that great flavor to last, then try one (or all!) of these methods of preserving corn…
Instructions for freezing corn-on-the-cob, whole kernel corn, and cream style corn are in a previous post – Corn: On or Off the Cob.
If you’re wondering what to do with all those frozen corn kernels, or if you have 16 to 20 medium-sized ears, and you’re feeling a little zesty, then try making Pickled Corn Relish and processing it in a boiling water canner.
The rest of these canning recommendations are not pickled products, and so a pressure canner is required since corn itself is a low-acid food. Corn can be canned as Whole Kernel Corn or Cream-Style Corn. Sweet corn kernels may also go into a medley of Mixed Vegetables or Soup (note that the pressure canning process time varies – following the recommended process time is important to the safety of the final products…the soup has a lot more water to help distribute heat more quickly, and also less solids to have to penetrate through).
If your corn browns during canning, it usually means that the temperature required for canning is too high for the sugar levels in your corn variety. This carmelization has become more of a problem as newer varieties of corn get sweeter and sweeter. You cannot safely reduce the heat or processing time needed for canning corn; you can freeze that corn or find a locally grown variety that is recommended for canning. Though not an immediate safety concern, you might want to consider refrigerating these jars and/or consuming them more quickly since they may not maintain the best quality for long.
Corn can also be dried, although consider your use of the kernels to decide if the texture is what you are seeking. Ears of popcorn can simply be left to air-dry on the stalks or at 130°F after harvest. For other varieties of corn, husk, trim, and steam blanch for 2 to 2-1/2 minutes or water blanch for 1-1/2 minutes. A test to check if it’s blanched enough is to cut into a kernel — if milk does not exude when the kernel is cut then it is adequately blanched. After blanching, cut kernels from the cob. Use a dehydrator try liner (or a cookie sheet if drying in the oven) so that the small pieces don’t fall through. Dry in an electric dehydrator at 140°F for 6 to 10 hours, longer in an oven. To rehydrate the kernels, soak each cup of corn in 2-1/4 cups water for 30 minutes.
Lastly, let’s not forget candy corn this time of year…it typically stores well on the counter in an airtight container (perhaps out of sight from children!).