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Special Rules for Blanching Corn

I read about blanching times for vegetables, but is there anything special I need to know about blanching corn before freezing it?

More and more people are freezing corn on the cob to enjoy throughout the year. It is not always entirely successful. At the very least, corn purists are often not satisfied with frozen corn.

By blanching corn and cooking it again when you are ready to eat it, you are essentially cooking it twice, which may cause the skin to be tough and the insides of the kernel to be mushy. If you cool the corn immediately in ice water after blanching, it should not become mushy. Some people skip the blanching step if they are planning to eat the corn within two months or so, but there is a decline in quality even over those two months. Also, some people find frozen corn to have a "cobby" taste. Cooling the corn quickly and thoroughly after blanching will help prevent that.

Choose a traditional variety of corm for freezing, rather than a supersweet, which may discolor once frozen. If you have the option, cut the corn early in the morning for best flavor, especially if the weather is hot. Also make sure the corn is at its peak maturity for best flavor and texture.

To blanch the corn, use a large pot — about 12 to 15 quarts — and use one gallon of water for each 2 to 3 ears. Bring the water to a rolling boil, plink the corn in the water, cover the pot, and begin timing immediately. Small ears (between 1-1/4 and 1-1/2 inches in diameter) should be blanched for 8 minutes and cooled in ice water for 16 minutes. Medium to large ears should be blanched for 11 minutes and cooled in ice water for 22 minutes. If you don't blanch the corn long enough, you are likely to have off-flavors when you get around to eating it.

You can use the same blanching water two or three times. Replace water that has boiled off, and change the water if it becomes cloudy. Once cool, drain the corn thoroughly; extra water will form ice crystals in the frozen corn, causing damage to the kernels.

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