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The Last of the Sweet Corn

September 1, 2010

Fresh Sweet Corn

Image by Brian Giesen via Flickr

Sweet corn all Harvested

Yesterday was the last day for the sweet corn patch here.  I went through and picked everything. Then I cut the stalks off at the ground. Then I piled the stalks in a big shock behind the patch. Four bushels of corn were harvested.  So today’s project is to process the high quality portion of that sweet corn, to conserve it for future use.

So what method of conserving?

Most folk I know freeze their surplus sweet corn.  Frozen sweet corn is easy to use, it looks good and the taste is usually only slightly diminished from fresh.  The downside is that is takes up freezer space, and requires constant electricity to be maintained.  It also requires energy to blanch, prior to being cut off the ear.  Blanching puts a stop to the decomposition of the starch in the kernels.  7 minutes in boiling water, then a quick ice bath; cut off the kernels, bag and freeze.

Then there is always canning.  Once you get over the long processing time, (40 minutes in the pressure canner for pints), then there is the diminished flavor.  Canned corn just doesn’t taste as good as fresh or frozen.  the advantage here is that it keeps well, with no further energy requirements, on a cool shelf in a dark area.

Well, how did the Indians preserve their corn?  They used solar energy!  Sun drying, of course.  Once again, the corn was originally boiled to stop decomposition. Then, after cooling,  the kernels were cut from the cob. The kernels would then be spread out, one layer thick on rocks or wood in a sunny spot until dry.  This probably worked very well in the Southwestern part of our country, but I can only imagine that it would take more than one whole day here in Indiana.  One apparent disadvantage here is that someone would have to provide security to insure that unwelcome visitors like birds, rodents, coons and skunk did not help themselves to the larder.

A more modern approach is to use a food dehydrator. Again, energy dependent. UGH.

None of these approaches sound too appealing.  Perhaps I will just throw a large Corn Roasting Party.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. anonymous permalink
    September 5, 2010 3:08 pm

    Which method did you finally decide on?
    I just got back from the Tecumseh Corn Festival. It was pretty awesome, Theory of a Deadman played. If you have a festival to get rid of your corn, maybe a hard rock group will apper around your place as well.

  2. September 7, 2010 11:10 am

    Anon,

    I tried the method in the Related LInk from the Chicagoist. It was the least labor and least energy-intensive method. Since the corn was really fresh, I figured that their method might be acceptable. I will have to report back on how it turns out…

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