My favorite time of the year is canning season. I know, I’m crazy, spending endless hours in a hot kitchen, blanching, cutting and processing, what could be better. I love the whole process of canning. From harvesting to canning. Not so much the clean up process but I feel completely satisfied when I can look at my work at the end of the long day. I started canning when I was little. My mother and grandmother spent the entire summer putting food away for our large family to enjoy through the winter. But when corn time came around it was a community event. We would go from family to family in our little valley, to pick, shuck, brushing, blanching, cutting and bagging corn. I remember sitting in the out-kitchen of our neighbors house sitting around shucking corn and talking with everyone about the local gossip, families and just having a fun day. Everybody pitched in and made the process go so much smoother. We would do 200 dozen corn in one day and not think twice about it. Those were some of the best days of growing up, friends, family and sharing great times.
So I got 11 dozen ears of corn and let my family know that Saturday was corn day. I get up and no one is there? Hmm, something is not the same. I think this job just went from a fun family event to a one man band event. Oh well, I got this. The messiest job to me, is that shucking and brushing process. So I set up my wheelbarrow load of corn, a trash can, my brush and a tub for my clean corn. I think I did pretty good, I was covered in corn hair most of the morning but I shucked that corn in record time. Now to get the corn into my kettles to blanch it. I set up my little assembly line between my sink and my dining room table. I filled my sink with cold cold water, set the corn on the table, had my kettles going, my knifes sharpened, I spread a table cloth on the floor under my chair to reduce clean up and I was ready to go.
Since those early days of doing corn there is a certain knife that we fought over using when cutting corn. It was just a simple wood handled knife that my mom used for everyday use. But when it came to cutting corn that knife was the bomb. Every year we tried to get our share of brushing done so we could get inside to get our hands on “The Knife”. We got so fast at brushing that it was always a race to the knife. Well as the years went on and my mom was moving away from our homestead and of course downsizing. We all were wondering who would get “The Knife”. Well guess what, I was the lucky winner of the best corn knife in the valley.
I put two kettles on for blanching and put my corn in. As soon as the time is up I put the corn in the first sink. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then move over to the second sink. By now the second kettle is ready so into the first sink that corn goes. I take the second sink of corn out and into my tray to start the cutting process. Now we all have our own cutting technique and mine may not work for you, but I like to pull that knife back towards me and let that corn slide right into my work bowl. So I get “The Knife” out and give it a little sharpening and start to cut. Well maybe it was the memory of that knife or I just don’t have my momma’s technique for sharpening a knife, but it is just not cutting like I remembered. So, for this round of corn, “The Knife” is not going to be used. I get my long Cutco knife out and it works like a charm. Once the bowl is full I dump it into a large stock pot. I keep emptying one sink and refilling with fresh cold water after two batches and just keep a steady rotation of corn in to blanch, corn into sink one, then sink two and then onto a tray for cutting. Well I figured at this rate I would be here for awhile but I guess when you have done corn for 40 plus years this way, you just don’t lose that edge. Before I knew it the last of the corn was in the kettle for the last time. Now, its just me and the hubby, so I put two coffee cups of corn into my Ziploc bags for our meal. It maybe a hair to much corn for us but there is nothing like fresh corn come winter so it won’t go to waste. Yea, I don’t use any of those fancy tools. A coffee cup is easy for me to dip into the stockpot of corn and it fits right in the Ziploc bag. Plus its just the right amount of corn per bag.
After all the corn is bag, I like to get as much air out of the bag as I can. I saw this process to make sure you get all the air out of a Ziploc bag on Facebook and I thought I would give it a try. You take a sink full of water, in my case I used a kettle for convenience. You take your bag and dunk it to the zipper part and it just sucks the air right out of it. Well I gave it a try and what better time than when you have 40 bags of corn to do. It takes a couple tries to get it to work or maybe it was just me, but once you have it down it goes quick. I like this process and will be using it on other things that I freeze without having to roll the bag, push the bag, etc to get the air out.
The corn is all bagged and ready for the freezer. Now the clean up process. I wash all my dishes, kettles and knives. Time to clean up the outside mess. Corn hair and husks are spread out on my patio. I tried to make the trash can but somehow it flies everywhere. Once the mess is cleaned up inside and out, I can finally relax. Of course, then my daughter calls and asks what I’m doing? and of course, the “I want some corn”, where were you when I needed the help? Oh well, all said I spent 4 hours putting up that corn and cleaning up. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning, if I do say so myself.