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Sunday, September 20, 2015

How Sweet It Is...



Sweet Corn... Drool.

A fresh from the field, still crunchy cooked to perfection, steaming hot cob, slathered in homemade butter and sprinkled with a little salt.

Admit it, your taste buds are watering and you've drooled down your shirt.

When we lived down south, the sweet corn season started in April and by June, the southern heat would slam the gate closed on that season.  Up North, if you have a great green grocer, you can start to find "imported" corn in late April, trucked in from Dixieland.  But in all honestly, local fresh grown is best.  As soon as corn is harvested, the sugars start to convert it, changing the taste and texture.  In reality, we take what we can find, and like it.

This year, our own garden corn was a bust; too wet of a spring, a late freeze, a replanting, wet and then silly hot.  The cobs were thin and the niblets tiny.  I fed them to the hens.

Locally, the eating corn was better formed than mine.  The cobs were larger, but still thin.  The kernels were still small and the taste was bland.  Iowa corn wasn't much better.  Corn from Kansas was larger, but the flavor just wasn't impressive.  This year the clear winner was Minnesota!  Richly colored full and heavy ears, bursting with that sweet nutty flavor that makes us all think of warm summer nights, fireflies, s'mores, and fireworks.

But as we all know the season is all too brief, both the corn and summer season that is.  This year I am preserving those golden bits of sunshine in glass jars.  I know canned corn isn't as brilliant as the real thing, and corn purists will swear by freezing, but my freezer is full of things I cannot get into a jar; pizza, cheese, doughnuts and cookies, chicken treats, hash browns, and meats that are destined for the grill.

So canning it is. 

YOU MUST PRESSURE CAN CORN!  There I said it.  It's low acid level demands that it be pressure canned.  You CANNOT, steam can OR water bath corn.  So either dig out grandma's pressure canner, or save your sanity and ease the fear that you're going to have it blow up and embed corn, and the lid, in your kitchen ceiling for all future family story tellers to witness, and buy yourself a new, safe, modern canner.  I swear by my All American Pressure canner.  Yes, I know they are pricey.  But the range of foods a pressure canner adds to your list of preserved foods more than makes up for the price. Search the internet and you can find some good deals.  I think I purchased mine on O.co several years ago.  It is very well made and easy to use.  It does come in larger sizes, but on my gas top stove, I have to change from a high pressure burner to a lower one to maintain the pressure.  So a larger pot equaled one that was too heavy for me to slide from one side of the stove to the other.

Also keep in mind that most, if not all, pressure canner companies warn against using a pressure canner on a glass top stove, which does not maintain a constant enough temperature for pressure canning nor can it withstand the weight of the canner and it's contents and can fail in a catastrophic, and expensive manner.

All that said, let's can some sunshine!

Canned Sweet Corn

Get ahold of about 50 ears of the freshest sweet corn you can find.
The ears should be full, firm, and juicy.  Shuck them and remove
As much of the silks as you can.  (Yes, I did this inside in the Air Conditioning.
It was almost 100' outside.)
Don't they all look scrumptious?

There are many different variation of the corn Sheller, or zipper, on the market.
Find one that works for your purpose, and amount of corn you will be tackling, safety features, and the
amount of cleanup you want to do.

This is the old style, all stainless steel, Kuhn Rikon
corn zipper.  I purchased it 10 years ago when my son had
his braces put on.  It removes the kernels at just the right
depth without a scary blade next to your wrist. It is easy to hold and

This is where I take the whole mess OUTSIDE, despite the heat.
Any flying kernels or corn milk will be washed away by the rain, and I
can toss the cobs over the rails to the chickens below.  Win, Win.

Using whatever stripper you prefer, strip the kernels of corn off the cob and into
an awaiting, clean container.  The long lines on the Kuhn Riken show where to
Line up your next swipe of the tool.  I stripped all 50 ears in under 10 minutes.

Back into the house, and my oh MY, doesn't that
all look delicious?!

To each PINT jar, I added 1/2 teaspoon of
salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid. I don't
know if it helps with the browning of the sugars
in the corn, but it doesn't hurt.

To each PINT, add boiling water, leaving an INCH of headspace.


Using a knife, or canning stick, remove any trapped air bubbles and
wipe the rims of the jars to be sure they are clean and dry.  Apply the two
part canning lids to finger tight.

Fill your canning pot and process according
to its directions for corn.  For me, it was a long 55

By the end of the day (and night) we were craving corn.  Silly me, I forgot to put some aside for supper.  Sigh.  But come winter I'll have sunshine!


1 comment:

  1. Ok, you did it, you made my mouth water. I do love corn, and I do remember the juicy sweetness of it and the pure butter running down my chin. Oooooh, those were the days...