Also called “maize”, corn on the cob is a starchy vegetable that has a long history beginning, presumably, in Mexico. A theory states that it came from an ancient grass with small cobs, called teosinte, that was processed to produce a savorier starch, thus evolving into the tender corn cobs we know and love. Corn on the cob can be cooked in a variety of ways and with a great number of recipes. It can even be eaten raw, straight from the fields, but beware of possible pesticide residues or bacteria! Whether you grow crops or you buy them, if you are reading this, there is a good chance that you have your hands or shelves filled with too much corn. And you must be thinking… can you freeze corn on cob? How long does corn on cob last in the fridge? How to cook frozen corn on cob?
Yes, you can freeze corn on cobs, without the need to remove any kernels. In fact, if you wish to retain its quality for a period of months, it’s absolutely mandatory that you do so. Below I’ll be disclosing the procedure for freezing it well and avoiding annoying damages such as freezer burns.
Blanching should be the first step to take before doing anything else, although some sources also recommend removing silks, trim, and wash before blanching. Blanching is not absolutely necessary if you plan on using the cobs in a matter of weeks. However, long-term freezing without blanching can be detrimental, as blanching deactivates the enzymes responsible for the loss of texture, quality, and flavor in most vegetables and starches.
To blanch, you must fill a bowl with ice water and place it somewhere accessible. Next, submerge the cobs in boiling water for a few minutes (2-3 minutes should be more than enough) and, immediately after, withdraw the cobs and throw them in the ice water, letting them rest there for another 2 minutes while trying to keep the water cold with ice cubes (if necessary). Lastly, drain the cobs using a strainer and paper towel to remove the excess moisture.
If you plan on using the kernels only, then you could make the effort in advance of slicing them before freezing and collecting them in airtight Ziploc bags, squeeze all the air out of them, seal them and store them in the freezer. If you want to save the corn on the cob, grab the cobs and wrap them in plastic (making sure there are no gaps, otherwise, air can get in and damage them). Then, you can either wrap them in freezer paper or place them in freezer bags. Finally, stow in the freezer.
Surprisingly, provided that you blanched it correctly and didn’t freeze it spoiled, corn on the cob should not suffer any major downgrade after freezing, and it has a rather long storage period in comparison to other vegetables and foods.
It’s not generally recommended to refreeze it if already thawed. However, corn, despite its moisture content, is very amicable to the freezer when compared to other vegetables. Therefore, if you absolutely need to refreeze it, then do it only once, making sure that it has not been out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
Uncooked corn on the cob can last in the fridge environment for 3 days, at a temperature of 40º F or below. After that period, it will definitely go bad because the bacterial activity is not thwarted, only delayed.
In the freezer, it will not experience spoilage, but it will start to lose considerable quality after about 8 to 12 months of freezer time.
If you absolutely need to thaw the corn on the cob, you can store it in the fridge and let it rest overnight (commonly the safest way). Alternatively, you can submerge in cold water until it’s totally thawed. Finally, there’s the microwave’s defrost function, which can be handy in these cases.
Do not defrost it at room temperature!
The good news is that you can actually cook frozen corn on cob without thawing, both on and off the cob. Nonetheless, when it’s on the cob, it’s recommended that you use boiling water first, even if you plan on employing other cooking methods later on. By boiling it, you ensue that the cob won’t be cooked only superficially while the inside remains cold. You can also eat it right out of the saucepan or pot after boiling (some people love coating it with butter to enhance the flavor!)
On the other hand, the use cases of corn on the cob are numerous: You can make roasted or grilled corn on the cob with various coatings and ingredients, or simply add it to soups or stews.