Corn contains enzymes that can cause it to spoil even while in the freezer. To prevent this, corn should be blanched before freezing to kill the enzymes. The process of blanching involves scalding the corn in boiling water for a period of time. The process is the same whether you are freezing the corn on the cob or removing the kernels before freezing, but the blanching time will be different.
Things You'll Need
Fill a large pot with one gallon of water for each pound of corn. Cover the pot and set on the stove over high heat until it comes to a full rolling boil. While the water is boiling, shuck the corn, making sure that all of the silk is removed. Rinse the corn under cold, running water.
Place the prepared corn into a blanching basket, wire basket or metal colander, or use the strainer insert from a pasta pot. Drop the filled basket into the boiling water and cover. Allow the water to come back to a rolling boil.
“The Joy of Cooking” recommends setting the timer for four minutes for corn that will be cut from the cob prior to freezing. For corn that will be frozen on the cob, set the timer for seven minutes for small ears that are 1 1/4 inches in diameter or less, nine minutes for medium ears that are 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches and 11 minutes for large ears more than 1 1/2 inches.
While the water is boiling, fill a bowl large enough to accommodate the corn with cold water and a few cups of ice. Use more than one bowl if necessary. When the corn is finished blanching, remove the basket, allow the hot water to drain off and immediately plunge the corn into the ice water. Feel the water as the corn is cooling. If it becomes too hot, add more ice or change the water so that it remains cold.
Place the corn on paper towels or dish towels to drain as soon as they are cooled. The cooling time should be at least as long as the cooking time.
Dry the corn thoroughly with paper towels after cooling and draining. If the corn is to be frozen on the cob, place the corn in resealable plastic bags or plastic containers and seal tightly. Place in the freezer.
Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels from the cob roughly two-thirds the depth of the kernels. Do not cut all the way to the white part of the cob.
Place the kernels in plastic containers leaving approximately one-half inch of headspace, seal and place in the freezer. If using resealable plastic bags, put the corn in the bags, seal and place in the freezer.
Use the freshest corn possible for freezing to help it to retain its color and flavor.
If you are freezing corn kernels in a resealable plastic bag, place the bag in the freezer and use the palm of your hand to press it into an even layer to ensure quick and consistent freezing.
References and ResourcesUSDA National Center for Home Food Preservation: Freezing
"The Joy of Cooking;" Irma S. Rombauer; 1985