Secret to Great Summer Corn

Secret to Great Summer Corn | The corn needs to be worked quickly whether whole kernel or creamed | The Chelsea Project |


I have one…… that I can’t wait to share.

It’s the secret that my mom taught me about how to process fresh corn from the garden….or in my case…..from the market.

It’s really easy.  I promise.

Whether you’re taking corn to the freezer or to the table.

I’ve got’cha covered.

Back in the day, we either canned or froze vegetables all summer long.  The only numbers that Mom seem to know were 50 and 100.  So every thing we processed was in either 50 quart or 100 quart quantities.  Trust me, that’s a whole lotta green bean snappin. But every summer, for as long as I can remember, we’d have soap operas running on TV in the background while we chopped, sliced, and diced our way to a full pantry.

Mom was generally pretty picky about all of the vegetables, but when it came to corn…she was ultra picky.  Regardless if it was grown or purchased, it had to be harvested at daylight and in the freezer at dusk. Yep.  If you were working for my mom, you had to hit the floor during July ready to shake your corn makin booty.

But friends, to her credit, she DID make some of the best corn in town. #biased/notbiased

And so can you…..with just a few of her corn making secrets.

Secret #1

Knowing how to pick an ear of corn is key.  The big fat ears that are bulging with corny goodness are not necessarily the best.  In this photo, the ears are too big and so are the kernels.  If the corn looks like it’s a size 12 stuffed into a size 6, time to move on.  Look for smaller, slimmer ears with smaller kernels.  This will produce a more tender kernel in the dish.

Secret to Great Summer Corn | Shuck and clean away the silk | The Chelsea Project |

Secret #2

Once the ears are picked, bring ’em home and work ’em.  Shuck and silk …then wash in cold water.  Just so you know, nowadays, when corn is in and I plan to freeze a few bags, I only get about 18-36 ears at a time.  Yes, this means multiple trips to the market, but it allows me to have fresher corn.  #momwouldbeproud

Secret to Great Summer Corn | After the corn is harvested from the field, process it as quickly as possible | The Chelsea Project |

Secret #3

Everybody should have a paring knife that feels good in their hand and is super sharp.  I prefer the knife on the bottom in the photo (below, left).  But knife choice is all about preference.  You may need to try some on for size… shoes.

Once you’ve picked a knife, time to find the tallest pot in the kitchen.  I use a pasta pot because corn spatters when it’s cut and having the corn deep inside a pot really saves on mess.

Next, is to actually cut the corn.  How the kernels are cut depends in the size of the kernels.  Remember how full ears with large kernels can make tough corn?  Well, if you do get ears that are overfull, simply cut the kernels half-way off the cob.  Then go back and cut the same kernels again at the cob.  The third time, scrape the cob with the knife.  This little trick really turns tough corn into little tenders.

Secret to Great Summer Corn | Choose a knife that is safe and right for the job | The Chelsea Project |

Secret #4

Once the corn is off of the cob, is it freeze or serve?

If it’s going to the freezer, simply cover the corn with cold, fresh water.  Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar.  Bring to a boil and simmer about 10 minutes.  Cool.  Then fill freezer bags to the top.  Remove all of the air from the bags and seal. Place in the frig overnight.  Then move the chilled bags to the freezer the next day.  Remember to label and date the bags.

If the corn is being cooked to serve, simply cover the kernels with cold, fresh water.  Bring to a simmer.  Add salt to taste, a dollop of butter, and about 1 tablespoonful of sugar (per 10-12 ears).  Cook about 10-15 minutes and serve.

For creamed corn (AKA fried corn), only cover the kernels with water about half-way.  Then follow the directions above.  But before serving, add about 3-5 tablespoonfuls of corn starch to about 3-5 tablespoonfuls of water.  Stir until mixed and then add to the corn.  Remove the top and cook the fluid from the corn. The corn starch with the boiling down of the fluid should initiate a creaming action in the kettle.

Secret to Great Summer Corn | Cover cut cold with fresh, cold water | The Chelsea Project |

Secret #5

Once cooked, whole kernel or creamed corn stays good in the frig for a few days.  It’s a great “make early” dish.

Secret to Great Summer Corn | The corn needs to be worked quickly whether whole kernel or creamed | The Chelsea Project |

And that’s all there is to it.  Mom’s secrets to great summer corn are now your secrets, too.

Secret to Great Summer Corn | Fresh corn should be quickly removed from the cob and cooked | The Chelsea Project |

From my house to yours,  here’s wishing you a great garden season…..and please….don’t forget to pin.

Secret to Great Summer Corn | The Chelsea Project |

Click here for fresh cole slaw with a twist 

Sweet & Savory Cole Slaw with orange and walnuts | Tossed with a lite poppy seed dressing | The Chelsea Project |

Click here for fresh greens mixed with berries, nuts, and poppy seed dressing

Mixed greens and berries in a lite poppy seed dressing | The Chelsea Project |




  • Reply Carolann July 6, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Now that’s some good looking corn you got there young lady! I’m craving some corn now big time! I had no idea how to freeze corn so this is fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing. We are huge corn lovers here!

    • Reply theChelseaProject July 6, 2016 at 9:44 pm

      LOL…thanks Carolann. Wish you could come over for corn and other goodies!

  • Reply Toni Harvey July 6, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Thank you for the tips about how to pick the best corn… I fear some of the ears I’m looking at right this very moment in my pan are way too big. God never intended for it to be as large as it is today. My next trip to the store I will choose the slimmer ears of corn.

    I’ve never frozen our canned corn before but I do love the option of preserving food in season to enjoy it for later… Like my Watermelon candy 🙂

    • Reply theChelseaProject July 6, 2016 at 9:42 pm

      Thanks Toni….yes…exactly like your watermelon candy. I simply must find myself a dehydrator.

  • Reply Marie, The Interior Frugalista July 8, 2016 at 2:19 am

    Oh my, your post reminded me of my days growing up at the lake when every August long weekend we would have a corn roast. I can taste that corn just talking about it. Thanks for these great tips, which I’ve pinned. I’m a cor on the cob kinda gal but my husband likes his removed. He’ll be happy to see these tips. Have a great weekend!

    • Reply theChelseaProject July 8, 2016 at 6:52 am

      Thanks Marie. Sounds like the most wonderful childhood ever. I’d love to try some of your roasted corn. Thanks for pinning.

  • Reply Debrashoppeno5 July 8, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Those are very good tips. Now I do buy corn every week for the squirrels so now I know what to look for and just maybe if they share with me I can use these tips.

    • Reply theChelseaProject July 8, 2016 at 6:46 pm

      Thanks Debra. Good luck….those squirrels can be tough… LOL..

  • Reply 5 Tips for Easy Patriotic Decor - The Chelsea Project June 30, 2017 at 9:00 am

    […] And, of course, the summer veggies will color pop when served in the good ole’ red, white, and blue. If you’d like to learn the secret to great summer corn, please click here. […]

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