Sipping rosé by the pool is great and all, but for foodies, summer is all about getting our hands on that colorful, in-season produce. And sweet corn is one of our favorite summertime offerings. Here’s the lowdown on how to freeze corn on the cob for future enjoyment. Just follow our lead and you, too, can delight in the butter-drenched sweetness of summer come January.
Note: We recommend blanching your corn before freezing. This process of briefly immersing food in boiling water and then plunging into an ice bath in order to halt the cooking process will ensure that you don’t lose any flavor and texture. But if you’re short on time, scroll down for a freezing method that skips this step.
How to Freeze Corn on the Cob
So here’s the thing: Storing loose kernels saves time down the road (just toss those yellow gems into a stir-fry or pasta and you’re good to go). However, if you swoon at the thought of sinking your teeth into a buttered ear of corn that just came off the grill (drizzled with spicy aioli), you can keep the kernels right where they are and freeze your cobs whole. Here’s how:
1. Fill a large stockpot two-thirds full with water and season generously with kosher salt. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and heat on high to bring the water to a rapid boil.
2. While you wait, prepare an ice bath. The ice-cold water will shock the corn after it’s been scalded and stop the cooking process, so your corn doesn’t lose its toothsome texture. To get your ice bath ready, empty several ice cube trays into a large bowl and fill with cold water. Set the ice bath aside near the stove so you can promptly cool the corn after blanching.
3. Shuck each ear of corn and remove the silk (a soft brush will quickly take care of any stubborn silk that remains). With a heavy knife, trim half an inch off of both ends of the cob.
4. Once the water has reached a boil, use tongs to add the shucked and trimmed cobs to the pot and boil for four minutes. The point of blanching is to partially cook so keep a close eye on the clock.
5. When the time is up, use tongs to remove each cob and dunk directly into the prepared ice bath. Let the cobs cool completely (about five minutes) before draining and patting them dry with a paper towel. Don’t skip this step since any remaining moisture on the surface of your corn will quickly turn into a layer of frost when your whole cobs hit the freezer.
6. After you’ve diligently dried the ears of corn, roll each cob in several layers of plastic wrap, taking care to tightly seal the corn at both ends as well.
7. Stick your shrink-wrapped cobs of corn in the back of the freezer to ensure six to 12 months of freshness. For a sweet-and-savory surprise whenever you please, unwrap and cook each frozen cob just as you would a fresh one.
How to Freeze Kernels of Corn
1. Blanch corn per instructions above (i.e., steps one through five).
2. When the corn has been cooled and patted dry, cut the kernels away from the cob with a sharp knife. Be sure to cut close to the cob or you will cut the kernels and spill all those sweet juices. (If you’re doing it right, the kernels should come off in clean sheets.)
3. Once the kernels have been taken off the cob, spoon them into plastic freezer bags. Remove excess air out of each bag before sealing and labeling with the date.
4. Store sealed bags of blanched corn in the back of the freezer where they will stay fresh and sweet for six months to a year.
Can I Freeze Corn Without Blanching?
Technically yes, but it’s not a good idea. Blanching is an essential step that protects the flavor, texture and nutritional content of your beloved corn. Of course, you shouldn’t have to see your summer candy spoil simply because you were too strapped for time. Corn on the cob can be frozen whole, without blanching—you’ll just be a little more limited when it comes time to cook it, as the corn is more likely to develop a chewy or mushy character. Here’s how to freeze unblanched corn when you’re in a hurry:
1. Shuck the corn and discard the husks.
2. Remove all silk from the surface of the corn with your fingers or a soft vegetable brush.
3. Wrap cobs completely in plastic wrap for a tight seal. You can also toss the corn on the cob in a plastic freezer bag—just be sure to remove any excess air from the bag before you seal it.
4. Stick unblanched, whole cobs in the freezer and consume within three months. (Note: The sooner you use your corn, the better)
What are you waiting for? It’s time to head to the farmers market or store and stock up on succulent cobs so you can chow down on ‘em well into winter.