Corn Off The Cob

EJ had bought a dozen ears of corn at the farm market Saturday so we could try our hand at freezing corn. The process requires several steps.

  1. Shuck the corn.
  2. Put the ears in boiling water for 4 minutes and then immediately put them into cold water for a few minutes. This is called blanching. Most vegetables are blanched for a few minutes before freezing.
  3. Remove the kernels from the cob.
  4. Put the corn into freezer bags and into the freezer.

On Sunday I shucked and blanched the dozen ears of corn and then went to my computer to research how to remove the kernels from the cob. There apparently are various methods, but the easiest seems to be using a bundt pan to hold the cob while cutting the kernels from it. EJ had already set up the bundt pan for me and I asked him for tips. He grew up on a farm and already knew how to do it, but I grew up in a small town and hadn’t done it before. I remember my Mom had a good-sized garden in our large yard when I was very young, but she must have had it for only a couple of years. My Dad was in tournament archery for a couple years and I barely remember that he had set up practice targets where the garden had been. For most of my childhood, the yard was mowed and played in. I don’t recall my Mom ever doing canning or freezing. If she did, I was too young to be aware of it.

For most of my married life, EJ and I had a house on a small lot in a tiny village. We tried to garden but didn’t really have enough land to do much with. We also planted cherry trees, but they’d only just begun producing when we moved. I’ve only begun doing homesteading things since we moved to our Enchanted Forest seven years ago. I love our homesteading life.

In case you are curious, here is a video showing how to remove corn from the cob. I thought it was rather fun.

After we processed and froze our dozen ears of corn, we discussed whether or not it was worthwhile to buy more corn from the farm market. Obviously, we’d both prefer to grow our own produce, but some things don’t grow well here. There are miles and miles of beautiful vineyards and apple and cherry orchards in our area, but the soil isn’t good enough for corn. So our alternative is the farm market or the grocery store. More and more we like the idea of getting away from grocery stores and buying local produce, but we aren’t rich and with inflation rising to historic levels, cutting costs is important. EJ played devil’s advocate and said that the frozen corn at the grocery store was cheaper–and less work–although with the possibility of shortages and supply chain issues there is no guarantee that it will always be available. EJ also said that the corn from the farm market is not exactly local. Apparently, the sellers grow their corn downstate and truck it up here. I said that while we can’t grow corn ourselves, at least we can oversee how it is processed. There was a pickle factory in the area we had lived before and we both remembered hearing firsthand horror stories of factory conditions and how pickles were processed. “If you knew how the pickels were made, you’d never eat another one,” they said. Yuck. Besides, I think it’s very satisfying to process food ourselves.

So, after going back and forth, considering different alternatives, we decided to buy more from the market. EJ drove back to it and bought five more dozen ears of corn.

When EJ returned from the market, I sat out at the patio table on our deck and shucked all the ears. It was a pleasure to work outside on such a beautiful sunny afternoon. Meanwhile, EJ cut his beef fat into pieces, which he put into our roaster pan to melt. He is making it into tallow which he says can be used as an alternative to shortening, used in venison, and stuff like that. It takes hours for the fat to melt so he was free to cook the beef kidneys for his homemade cat food. He was finished with these tasks by the time I finished shucking so he was able to blanch the corn for me.

When I finished shucking the corn, we set the large canning pot on the stove and EJ blanched the corn in batches. He kept bringing the blanched corn to the kitchen island where I stood and cut the kernels from the cobs. We put the bare cobs in the compost bucket and when it was full, EJ took it out to the chickens so they could glean whatever remaining bits of corn they could find. The chickens loved it and were excited when they saw EJ coming with more.

When I had cut all the kernels from the cobs, I had three large bowls filled with corn. I took the bowls to the kitchen table where I sat and scooped corn into freezer bags. Two cups of corn seemed a good serving size for us. I filled 30 bags and put them into our freezer. I was exhausted but I was satisfied with my work.

Later in the evening, after I had gone to bed, EJ poured the finished tallow into jars. He didn’t get the cat food made because he was exhausted. He will do that probably tomorrow.

Today it rained steadily all day. I didn’t mind because rainy days feel cozy–and we need the rain. I thought this would be a good day to relax from yesterday’s work, but I still had a busy morning. I made chicken dumpling soup for today’s lunch. I cut up some of the whole tomatoes that I had frozen and made them into chili for tomorrow’s lunch. The whole tomatoes take up a lot of freezer space which we need for other things so I will use them first. Fortunately, I had diced most of the tomatoes I froze so they don’t take up so much space.

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