The Simplest Way to Preserve Fresh Corn on the Cob

With a little forethought and preparation you can preserve fresh corn on the cob enjoy and sweet corn for months after the season ends.

I thought perhaps I had left this little item on my to-do list too late.  I was headed for the St. Jacob’s Market Saturday morning in search of late season corn.  I left that a little late too because by the time I was off the Expressway ramp the traffic was backed up 2 lanes deep for about 3 traffic lights.  It is a popular place for good reason but get in and get out before 11 am!

So we made an executive decision to divert and go to Herrle’s Country Farm Market.  We are so lucky to have so many sources for farm fresh produce in Kitchener-Waterloo!  You often see signs at the end of Mennonite farm lanes advertising fresh eggs, sausage, produce, lamb, chickens etc. Often there will be an unattended wagon at the roadside loaded with some crop or another (including gladiolas) with a sign and box for how much money to leave!  The maple syrup wagons seem to always be attended though- must be a more valuable product!

Herrle's Country Farm Market

Herrle’s is famous locally for its corn.  If someone is telling you about a BBQ they went to they will say ‘and Herrle’s corn’.  Not just corn –  Herrle’s corn.

I was pleasantly surprised to find 2 large bins with 2 different varieties of corn.  I went for the bi-colour sweet corn.  I asked how much longer they expected to have corn.  They are hoping they can harvest up until Thanksgiving (early October in Canada) but it might be a bit shorter because it has been such a dry summer.

So all this to say – there is still time if you are reading this in September to get in on this easy tip.

There are a few ways you can go about this.

Short Term Preservation

This is so simple.  The secret?  All you do is husk the corn as you normally would and drop the cobs into a Zip Lock Freezer bag.  Done.  (See the tips below about reducing air in your freezer bag.)     When you want a hit of corn on the cob over the next couple of months  just drop the cobs into boiling water for about 9 minutes the same as you would if you were cooking it the day you bought it. Cook from frozen.

Corn ready to freeze

Longer Term Preservation

In order to preserve the texture and the flavour beyond a few months, say 6 months plus tradition would have you blanch the corn which has a couple of steps.

  • Husk the corn and clean the silk
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil
  • Fill a clean sink with cold water and some ice cubes.
  • Drop corn cobs in boiling water and boil about 3 minutes. (The colour of the corn should just be starting to turn a bit darker.)
  • Remove corn cobs and drop immediately into the ice water to stop cooking.
  • When cool, remove corn to a towel and pat dry with clean towels or paper towels.

Freezer Bagging

  • Some people suggest wrapping the corn cobs with aluminium foil to keep the air out.  Then put them in a large Zip Lock bag and just remove as many as you want at a time.
  • Another option is to take a straw after you have dropped your cobs in the Zip Lock.  Insert the straw in the corner of the bag.  Zip the top up to the straw.  Suck the air out of the bag with the straw.  Remove the straw and quickly finish the seal on the bag.
  • Another ingenious method or getting air out of a freezer bag is to submerge the bag in water up to the lip. Don’t let any water get into the bag. Gently seal the zip lock. The water will press out air from around the corn.


Preserving Corn Kernels

If you don’t have room in your freezer for the whole corn on the cob:

  • For short term storage you can cut the raw kernels off, seal in a zip lock and use within a couple of months.
  • For longer term you can slice off the kernels after you have blanched the corn cobs and stopped the cooking in an ice water bath.  Cut the kernels off and seal up air tight in a Zip Lock.

What To Make with Your Corn Bounty!


Make this Fresh Corn Risotto with Shrimp  or this Lobster Seafood Chowder  that are both enhanced by boiling the corn cobs in addition to using the kernels.

This Summer Corn Quiche uses corn kernels and is delicious.

You’re welcome.

PS:  And those cute little tomatoes?  Paste tomatoes from the garden.  Same thing –  wash ’em, bag ’em and freeze ’em. Drop a handful into any tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, chile etc. and it will noticeably brighten the flavour. If you have lots you can use a couple of cups of them to roast or sautée as a soup base.

Post updated 21 Aug 2018

With a little forethought and preparation you can preserve fresh corn on the cob enjoy and sweet corn for months after the season ends.

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