A Bountiful Harvest

This has been a very challenging growing season.  The spring was extremely wet and cool.  And the summer brought hot and dry weather.  I was really concerned that the harvest this year would be quite small.  But that was not the case and we were blessed with plenty of tomatoes and sweet corn.  The last blog told about my first attempt at canning tomato juice.  It was much easier than I thought it would be and I can’t wait to use the juice this winter.  Freezing sweet corn is something that I do each fall.  It does take time and can be a bit messy, but it is so well worth the effort.

ball

In my opinion, the ball canner is the most versatile item in my kitchen.  Last month I used it to can tomato juice and make jelly.  This month it is perfect for cooking sweet corn.

corn

Select ears of corn that are fresh and at the peak of quality and flavor.  Husk, remove silks, and wash.  Bring 6 to 8 quarts of water to a boil and submerge several ears of corn in the boiling water to blanch.  Do not crowd the corn.  When freezing corn on the cob, blanch ears of corn having a 2-inch diameter for 8 minutes.  For whole-kernel corn (corn cut from the cob, which is the method I use), blanch ears 5 to 6 minutes.  Start counting the blanching time when the ears are submerged in the boiling water.

Remove corn from the boiling water and immediately submerge in cold water to cool.  I use a big cooler filled with ice water.  Allow the corn to remain in the cold water for the same amount of time used for blanching – 5 to 6 minutes for corn cut off the cob.

I tried several different knives until I found the perfect one for cutting the corn off the cob, and when I found just the right knife and perfected my technique, the cutting went very quickly and smoothly.  It also is much easier if one person is putting the corn in the boiling water and ice water and another person is cutting the corn off the cob.  My dear husband Murray is always willing to assist.  And, by the way he is an excellent cook!!

The whole-kernel corn can be packed into a variety of containers – plastic freezer jars, plastic freezer containers, plastic freezer bags, or tapered glass jars.  I prefer to use plastic freezer bags, both quart and gallon sizes.  Place the corn into the freezer bags, remove all air, seal, and note the date on the bag.  Place the bags (or containers) in the freezer near the coldest spot, in a single layer.  When the corn is frozen, you can stack in the freezer.

book

Along with my ball canner, another item that I cannot do without in the kitchen is the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.  It is such an invaluable resource and reference guide.  Along with the excellent instructions in the book, I also keep very detailed notes, which are all tucked away in this book.  I always make sure this is kept in a safe place!!

I know that canning and preserving is viewed as a lost art.  Our very busy lives and the convenience of large supermarkets make it easier to buy what we need.  However, I personally feel like there is nothing better than home-grown products.  And even though my garden is not as big as I would like, there are so many farmers markets where family-owned business sell a variety of home-grown produce.  In fact, we do not grow sweet corn, but are able to get all that we need from a neighboring family.

So as hints of fall are clearly visible and we know that winter is just around the corner, I would encourage you to start making plans for next year.  For the past several years, Murray and I have put lots of sweet corn in the freezer and I have always made blackberry jelly.  This year I canned tomato juice.  Next year, I plan to can and freeze green beans and try my hand at making pickles.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,

Pat

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s