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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
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Monday, September 08, 2008

Freezing Corn and Home Canned Cream Style Corn

Friday I froze niblet corn and canned cream style corn so the kitchen was a buzz of activity. Ontario sweet corn is available from July to October. By far the most popular sweet corn available is the hybrid varieties of peaches and cream aptly named for the tender yellow and white kernels of quite sweet corn. While this is lovely fresh eating corn I don't find it the best for canning or freezing. I previously posted the method for freezing and canning sweet corn as well as the recipe for making corn relish. When choosing corn for canning or freezing look for yellow sweet corn mid-season that has tender, large kernels. Late season corn can be used but the kernels won't be as tender.

Yellow Sweet Corn

I haven't grown corn since my earlier gardens mainly because I use the square foot gardening method and corn takes up too much space for the yield. Instead, I buy local sweet corn in season. For years I bought a variety known as Libby's yellow sweet corn. The cobs were quite large with densely packed even rows of plump, bright golden yellow kernels. When peaches and cream sweet corn became popular the old fashioned yellow sweet corn became virtually impossible to find for a few years. Finally a couple of years ago a few local farmers began growing yellow sweet corn.

We have had a rather poor growing season this year so the price of corn has not come down much. Gone are the days of being able to buy corn for 99¢ per dozen but I can usually find it for $1.75 per dozen from the farmers. My husband paid $3.50 per dozen for this lovely yellow corn Thursday afternoon. He bought 5 dozen; 4½ of that was slated for freezing and canning. That night we had some with dinner. The kernels were full, tender and sweet with a wonderful flavour. Friday morning I husked the corn then set aside 1 dozen ears for canning. I had already decided instead of canning niblet corn, I would can cream style corn. The ears were a nice size with dense rows of good sized, golden yellow kernels not quite a large as Libby's but still large enough for my needs.

Freezing Prep

This was my first preserving session since the kitchen renovation was completed. I had to establish a new work pattern as we had moved the sink. I stacked the 3½ ears of husked corn (2) ready for blanching (1). Working in batches of 6 - 7 ears of corn I blanched them then transferred to ice water in the sink (3). When the batch was cooled I moved them to a glass baking dish (4) ready for cutting. This sequences was repeated several times. I used another glass baking dish (5) to catch the kernels as I cut them from the cobs. This dish was emptied into my large stainless steel bowl. By the time I was finished this bowl was filled almost to the top. The bowl was covered and placed in the refrigerator to ensure the kernels were cooled before packing. The last dozen (7) was set aside for the cream style corn.

Weighing In

Niblet corn is one of the very few things that I prefer zipper style bags to vacuum sealing. Instead I press out as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. I generally leave the vacuum sealing for corn that has had butter or seasonings added for boil-in the bag pouches. Zipper style bags allows me to use what I want and reseal the rest.

The yield of the 3½ dozen ears of corn was 12.5 lb (200 oz) at a cost of $12.25, so just shy of $1 per lb. This is comparable if not slightly less than brand name frozen corn. Sorry I don't have a price per lb for store bought but the next time we stop I will check and post a comparison.

This brings me to the kitchen scale. The number one question when it comes to canning and freezing is "Is it cheaper?". The only way to answer this is to figure out your yield, convert it into comparison units then calculate the cost per unit. Now you can easily see if your product is cheaper than store bought. Some home frozen or home canned foods will be very close in price so then it depends on uniqueness and quality rather than price. For calculating costs of foods prepared for freezing a kitchen scale is a must. It need not be a fancy or expensive scale but it should be accurate.

Cream Style Corn Prep

Cream style corn despite its name has no cream in it rather the cream comes from the preparation method. This takes a bit of practice to master the technique so expect a bit of a mess. If you hit the kernels the wrong way the milk and/or bits of corn will fly everywhere. One thing about any large amount of white in a kitchen is it keeps you honest. There is no hiding or overlooking splatters like those created while prepping cream style corn. Keep a wet washcloth handy to wipe up those splatters as they happen.

Method: Blanch corn 4 minutes. Hold the cob at a 45ยบ angle. Working from the centre of the cob cut mid way through the kernels with blade of knife facing away from you. Work around the cob. Turn you knife so the blade faces you and place your thumb on the mid portion of the blade for pressure. Scape the knife across the the remainder of the cut kernels to extract the pulp and milk. The cob will be clean. Turn the cob and working from the center repeat. Once you have all of the corn prepped measure the kernels, pulp and milk together. For each 2 cups (500 ml) add 1 c (250 ml) water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently 3 minutes. Ladle corn and liquid into 500 ml (pints) jars. [Do not use 1 L (quart) jars!] Wipe rims. Adjust 2 piece lids. Process 85 minutes at 10 lb pressure in weighted gauge pressure canner.*

*Altitude adjustment chart here.

In The Canner

With the cream style corn safely processing away in the All American 921 and 81 minutes to go according to the timer, it was time to reflect on how the changes to the kitchen were working. If you recall, the original sink was in the corner less than an inch from the corner of the stove. That meant there was no work space beside the stove on the right and a very small of about 18 - inches work space on the left occupied by the KitchenAid® stand mixer. So that meant there really wasn't much work space on the left. The grill cover can serve as a small work space but most times when I'm canning I have the other burner cartridge in instead of the grill. Removing jars from the canner meant having to lift hot jars from the canner over the sink to the waiting cork board. This was not an ideal set-up! Moving the sink created a large, deep work area with the stand mixer out of the main work area. Removing jars from the canner would now mean the jars would go right to the waiting cork board beside the stove. This is important because unlike jars coming out of a boiling water bath canner, the contents of the jars coming out of a pressure canner are still boiling. The less movement when taking them out the better to prevent breakage or seal failure.

Cream Style Corn

The first time I tried cream style corn it was a disaster! The recipe I used did not say to add water so the contents were too thick. This is really a product I wanted in my pantry. For this attempt I added a little extra water to be on the safe side figuring I could easily thicken later. This batch of cream style corn was just slightly thinner when first out of the canner but has thicken a bit after cooling.

One dozen ears of yellow sweet corn gave a yield of 5 - 500 ml (pint) jars. Total cost including lids and electricity was $4.20 for a cost per ounce of 5¢. In comparison Del Monte cream style corn with no salt added ($1.09/14 oz US) is 8¢ per ounce. This is not a huge savings but given the rising food costs every penny counts. In perspective it is a 48¢ savings per jar. I was surprised at any savings with paying $3.50 per dozen ears corn. While not totally free, if you grow your own or can buy corn at a lower price, you will realize a greater savings.


14 food lovers commented:

Kat said...

I love corn and I grew up in a household that did canning and freezing. We always froze our cream corn. I never knew you could can it. Next time I have an abundance of corn, I'll be sure to try this!

Thanks!
Kat

lanne said...

Hi! I just wanted to say how much I enjoy your blog and that I would be honored if you would accept the "I Love Your Blog" award over at CROCODILE SOUP FOR THE SOUL.
Laurie

Gina said...

This is a great idea. Thanks.

Garden Gnome said...

Kat, it is a canning is a wonderful way to save a bit of freezer space :)

Garden Gnome said...

Laurie, thanks so much for the award! I am very flattered. I'm so glad you enjoy my blog.

Garden Gnome said...

Your welcome Gina :)

Linda said...

Do you not use "Salt" when canning your cream corn? I am a beginner and everything I have read uses salt.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Linda, unless a recipe is for pickling where salt is a necessary component of the process, it is merely a seasoning in other home canned recipes. It can safely be omitted when canning vegetables including cream style corn as well as a wide variety of other home canned foods.

Linda Palmer said...

Thanks, May I ask another question?
I have been watching youtube and reading others recipes in regards to Pressure Canning "Meat Loaf" however I understand from the USDA guidelines that it isn't safe to use dairy or crackers or oatmeal in a recipe for Pressure Canning.
What are your feeling about using "oatmeal" "milk" and "eggs" in a recipe for Meatloaf that I might want to Pressure can???

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Linda, with respect to the USDA - they make a recommendation based on quality or safety but do not tell you which they based it on. If a recommendation such as low acid foods must be pressure canned, then I follow those guidelines. Cheese, milk, eggs and butter can be successfully canned without a safety issue. It is all about quality, with these products giving less that ideal results. There are videos on YouTube for canning each but let me warn you, I feel after seeing the results that canning cheese is a waste of resources all the way around. The sugars in plain milk caramelize so the product is dark tan, something that some do not find appealing plus the caramelization would give a flavour change. Eggs become rubbery and the only thing I've canned with eggs as an ingredient is meatloaf.

I use milk as the binder in meatballs when I can them without a problem. I don't use any fillers. I don't use oatmeal for meatloaf any time so can't comment. I do however can meatloaf made using my basic recipe which includes eggs and bread crumbs without a problem. If you are planning to can meatloaf, I highly recommend using the widemouth straight should jars for easy removal later.

Linda Palmer said...

OK, that sounds good, what kind of bread do you use in your meat loaf?
whole wheat or white?
what is your recipe for your meatloaf so I can see if it varies much from what I use? I was wondering if crackers and oatmeal couldn't be used as a binder what you would use and you said you use milk (?) as a binder??? I thought the bread crumbs would be the binder. Do you buy the bread crumbs from the supermarket?
Forgive me for asking so many questions.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Linda, I use homemade bread crumbs from left-over homemade breads so it depends on what I have on hand which is usually white, whole wheat or sourdough. I really can't help you with the oatmeal although I do know some use it in meatloaf.

My basic meatloaf consists of fresh ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken, pork or venison), eggs, bread crumbs, ketchup or bbq sauce, dry mustard, and seasonings according to the meat used. From there, I add extras as desired but usually stick to the basic for canning.

Milk is the perfect binder for meatballs whether for fresh use, freezing or canning. I don't season my meatballs.

Linda Palmer said...

I just bought 37 ears of fresh silver queen corn from Florida. I don't have time to pressure can them tonight but will do it tomorrow. At the moment I have them in the refrig with the husk on, will they be OK till in the morning or do I need to shuck the corn and put them into bags or something to keep them fresh till tomorrow????

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Linda, personally I would not put the corn in the refrigerator. I would leave in the husk in a cool location out of direct sunlight for processing first thing the following day if something unexpected came up that prevented me from processing that day.