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Monday, August 1, 2011

Grilled Corn - Making it and Freezing it

Grilled corn is an essential part of a summer BBQ.  My husband, Robert, will grill anything, from meat and every veggie I grow, to pizzas and flat-breads.  One of my favorites is the grilled corn, and when prepared right, and then frozen, can be enjoyed anytime of the year.

Sweet corn in Michigan is best in the last part of July and the month of August.  I do not have room to grow it yet, but soon...  Anyway, I like to go to Pontiac Farmer's Market, where I can get bunches of it for cheap, usually picked the day before.  This batch was purchased at Eastern Market, from a farmer out of Adrian.

The first step is to keep the husks on, and it is better to feel the top, than peeling back the husks.  Its just as accurate, and you can spot problems by looking at the silk.  If you must peel back to check when buying, do not pull it too far back, as the husk is important in the grilling.

Once you get the corn home, you need to soak in water, the whole ear, still in the husk, for a minimum of 6 hours, though Robert prefers to do so overnight.  We have an old cooler that Robert can fit 12-14 ears in. Make sure the water covers the corn completely.   Robert secures the lid to the cooler, and it can be left outside. (Unless you too have a pesky raccoon that can lift rocks!)

When it is time to grill, he makes sure that the grill is very hot if using charcoal, or sets it on high for a gas grill.
Robert grills them for about 25-35 minutes, not worrying if the husks burn a bit, and then turns off the grill and lets them steam for 10 minutes more.  If it is charcoal, or he needs to continue grilling, he puts them in a glass dish to steam.  The husk will actually keep the corn hot for 45 min or longer, so it is easy to grill 2 -3 times more than you need, enjoy dinner and then worry about freezing the rest.

Only remove the husk when you are ready to eat the corn or before you get ready to freeze it.  Most freezing instructions are serious about heating and then QUICKLY cooling veggies over ice ASAP!  I completely understand the whole reason behind this, bacteria growth is rapid, and the least amount before processing is best, but I am also a fan of not burning myself.  Sit down, enjoy dinner with your family, get out your sealer, get your bags ready, get a knife and cutting board, and when the corn is cool enough to actually handle, go ahead and remove the husk.  If you prefer, take the corn directly off the grill and put in a bucket of ice, and let it cool quickly, but never put extremely HOT food straight into the fridge or freezer, you can actually raise the temp in the fridge.
Once you have clean ears, just cut the kernels off with a sharp knife, cutting in rows from the top to the bottom.  If you normally go through 4 ears at a sitting, then cut 4 ears for each bag.  Fill your bags and seal them, following the directions on your sealer.  If you are using zipper style freezer bags, get as much air out as possible, using a straw to remove excess air.  The more of a vacuum you have, the fresher your veggies will be when you open them.  Make sure you put the date on the bags, so you can keep track of your veggies, and place in your freezer.  You are all done!  Quick and Easy.

The best way to keep that delicious grilled taste is to saute the corn and not boil it when you serve it.  Robert adds a pat of butter to the freezer bag before I seal it, but you can put a pat of butter in a saute pan, place the frozen corn in the pan, and over medium - medium high, cover with a lid, breaking up the corn every few minutes.  When it has steamed itself apart, turn up the heat and saute until hot, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.  The corn will taste just like July.  It makes the worst snow storms seem a little less sad, knowing that summer will come again.

For any extras on freezing, please see my post on Freezing your Produce.

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