Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Canning the sweet corn

5 minutes blanched in boiling water, then cooled for easier handling
 My sweet corn crop was a qualified disaster -- I'll talk about it in another post, but as with most farm meals, our food is the part of the crop that isn't saleable.  In this case it's all the undersized corn cobs that aren't pretty enough for sale.  So tonight I processed 80lbs of fresh corn.

  For this batch of corn I made 32 pints of creamed corn, canned into pint jars.  Here's the process. 
A corn cutter.  You slide the cob up the groove and it removes the kernels or creams the corn. 
 It takes about 20 pounds of fresh corn to make 9 pints of creamed corn.  It compacts pretty small.  I use a giant pressure canner so that I can process 32 pints at a time.  It takes 90 minutes or so for the jars to process, so having a big pressure canner means that you can process more per day than otherwise.  When I'm canning I want to get it done as soon as I can, so it was worth it for me to buy the big canner. 
1 quart corn, 2 cups boiling water.  bring to boil
 I chose to do creamed corn because I'd never used a corn cutter before, and it's kinda hard to mess up creamed corn.  With kernel corn I want the kernels to be nice looking and even, so a little bit of practice was good.  Plus creamed corn is pretty tasty. 
Once boiling, ladle into prepared jars, lid and ring
 It took about 75lbs of fresh corn in the husks to produce the 32 pints of creamed corn that is this canner load.   Because we're dealing with farm quantities of corn, I use 32 gallon garbage cans.   32 pints of creamed corn is 2 full garbage cans of fresh corn. 

The processing waste goes out to the pigs to make sure we get every single calorie of gain we can out of the crop
 So the process is:  Husk the corn, blanch in boiling water, cut the kernels and scrape the cobs, cook the resulting corn scrapings, and then ladle into jars.  I prepare the jars by boiling the jars and lids so that the jars are hot when  I'm pouring the boiling corn mixture into them. 

And this is the corn we'll process tomorrow as canned kernel corn
The creamed corn is an efficient way to store quite a bit of harvested corn.  About two hours to husk it, probably 3 hours to cream it.  It's not a cheap way to go, but it's an easy side-dish for dinners for the next year.  I will probably can 60 pints or so; about a pint of canned corn per week, and it'll be shelf stable for years if we don't eat it this year. 

Oh.  final thing:  Always, always label and date your canned goods.  I also put the batch number on each label.  So this batch is labeled 9-10-2013, batch 1.  I also note anything about ingredients that's different.   That's because 6 months from now if I find a particularly tasty jar of creamed corn, I want to be able to remember what I did right so I can do that again.  Little more salt, little less corn, maybe a touch of red pepper.... whatever. 

1 comment:

James L said...

Great info Bruce.

I've actually ordered the same pressure canner myself partly due to your inspirational posts.

Keep them coming...always handy to see some of the ways a farmer can preserve the harvest!