Use Your Freezer, part 2

 

How to Put Up One-Quarter Mile of Corn

Before Fourth of July Fireworks

Good corn!

Good corn!

As I said, yesterday, you do not put that much corn in jars in the canner. That would take roughly 15 hours just in the jiggling, plus heat up and cool down times, and the other processing of shucks,silks, etc.

Nah. Not that.

We freeze it. Frozen corn tastes better, anyway, and for us, frozen off the cob is best, most like fresh from the garden.

Here’s how we did it.

My husband went to the garden with a wheelbarrow, picked the corn, shucked it right there, and placed it into the wheelbarrow. When one was full, he started on the other one. If it filled, too, he took out laundry baskets and buckets until all was picked and shucked. Later he would till in all the debris.

Meanwhile, I sharpened knives, heated water, and covered countertops with towels.

Once the first wheelbarrow came to the house, I began trimming, de-silking, and washing all that corn, over a sieve to catch the garbage for the chickens.

Whenever a found a totally perfect ear, I set it aside for the Pastor. That was one very important aspect of teaching children how to harvest that we never wanted to omit.

After the washing, the blanching could begin. I put seven ears for 4 minutes into a 16-quart pot of boiling water. Then I transferred them to a cold water rinse to stop the blanching action. While I blanched, all older family members carefully sliced the top 2/3 off the blanched and cooled kernels and then scraped the pulp from the remaining one-third, all over big wash pans or large bowls.

Some people do the cutting indoors, but that is messy to clean up. Others do their cutting outside, but that is buggy. A screened porch solves both problems if you can hose it off later.

I know people object to blanching because it is a warm job, but I’ve learned it’s easier if we aren’t overly dependent upon air conditioning. We do perspire some, but it is summer, after all, and I have found it doesn’t hurt a thing to do so. What makes it so warm is that the water will not boil with a fan blowing on it, so only exhaust fans will work.

Once the corn is cut, I pack it into the trusty ol’ boxes, label, and freeze.

What happiness to notice the boxes piling up on the countertop! What awe to watch your daughter learn to count while she sits beside that ever-growing stack of boxes! What fun to take the Pastor three dozen absolutely perfect ears of (you know it’s the best) corn! And what excitement each time you eat it, all the long winter, as wonderful as the day it was picked!

So the freezer has kept our harvest for us for years. Can it do anything else? Yes!

And we’ll talk about that tomorrow!

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photo credit: amcdj

Use Your Freezer

When our firstborn was about two years old, we bought a brand new deep freeze, on sale, for about $100.00. That was a large sum for us, just starting out, but through 40 years of service it has never caused us one moment of grief and has quietly kept literally tons of food rock-hard, safe to eat, and almost-like-fresh.

That’s at $2.50 per year.

It has had a place of honor in most of our homes, either in the kitchen or in the baby’s room. (It did double duty as a wonderful changing table.) I also bought several sets of rigid plastic freezer cartons, to save the waste of plastic bags. They were also on sale but nine dozen or so cost me around $50.00. Most of those dear little boxes are also still chugging along just fine.

That’s around $1.10 per year.

Every year I froze 75 quarts of blanched corn-off-the-cob, 75 quarts blanched spinach and/or beet greens, and all the fresh blackberries I could get my hands on.

We also tried freezing applesauce, whole carrots, whole peppers, whole apples, whole tomatoes, halves of beef and pork, bread, cookies, cakes, flour, dried beans, corn meal, excess fruit juice, chocolate chips, dog biscuits, dampened laundry, and more.

Oh, I forgot chickens, turkeys, fish, and the last snowball of each winter.

Oh, yes, there was leftover garden seed, too.

And ice cream.

Are you getting the picture?

(We won’t discuss the pheasant skin.)

I am not the type to throw everything into the freezer just because it’s too much work to pressure can it. Yet the freezer is always packed.

Our garden has varied from a tiny, pitiful mustard patch, to a beautiful 50’ x 75’ plot of perfectly fertile sandy loam. In the big one, we planted 17 rows of corn each year. By the Fourth of July, those 17 long rows were ripe and ready. We’d hurry to get it all put up before nightfall and the huge fireworks display in the park.

Now. To get ¼ mile of corn put up in a hurry, you do not pressure can it for an hour per each ten pints! No! The only expedient way, given the necessary elements, is to blanch it briefly, slice it off the cob, and store it in boxes in the freezer.

More tomorrow.