How do I Freeze Corn?

Josie Myers

Freezing fresh summer corn provides a tasty wintertime side dish. Fresh frozen vegetables are significantly more flavorful than those found in the freezer case of a grocery store. It also saves a few dollars since summer corn is cheap and plentiful.

An ear of sweet corn.
An ear of sweet corn.

To make the best frozen corn, get the best fresh corn. The freshest will come right from the farm. For those who live in an area that isn't near a farm, try a produce market or organic grocery store. The key is to freeze corn as close to the time it comes off the stalk as possible. The longer it sits on a shelf or in a bag, the more flavor is lost.

Cotija cheese sprinkled over previously frozen corn on the cob.
Cotija cheese sprinkled over previously frozen corn on the cob.

In order to preserve that flavor, corn also needs to be blanched. When a fresh vegetable is exposed to heat for a few minutes, it kills enzymes that would otherwise change the flavor of the vegetables in the long term. Those who choose to freeze corn without blanching will notice a significant difference in the flavor of their vegetables within a few months of freezing.

Boiling is the easiest way to blanch any vegetable. Choose a very large pot and bring the water to a rolling boil. Husk the corn and remove all of the silk. Add as much corn as possible to the boiling pot and then bring the water back to a boil.

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water. This will be used to cool the corn quickly after blanching to prevent overcooking. Allow the corn to boil for 4-6 minutes and then remove quickly and place immediately in the ice bath. The ears need to sit in this bath for an additional 4-6 minutes.

Once the ears are cool, the kernels can be removed from the cob if desired. Generally, those who freeze corn remove the kernels because corn off the cob will retain the texture and sweetness better than corn on the cob. To cut the kernels off, hold the ear on end and run a knife down the side of the ear. The knife should remove the majority of the kernel from the cob. Take care not to puncture too much of the kernel or the corn will turn more creamy than crisp.

The corn will look like strips of kernels after it is scraped from the cob. Scoop these strips into a freezer bag and don't worry if they don't separate during this step, as they will when reheating. Some prefer to use vacuum-sealed bags to freeze corn, but either method is perfectly acceptable. The final step to freeze corn is to place the bags in the freezer.

To reheat the corn, simply microwave or reheat the bags in a pot of boiling water. An alternative is to put a half cup or milk or so into a pot and heat just until warm, being careful not to boil the milk. Add a touch of salt and pepper and place the corn in the milk to thaw and heat. This method makes a little creamier taste than straight corn.

Blanch corn in boiling water before freezing.
Blanch corn in boiling water before freezing.

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