Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Corn Woes

My corn isn't growing so well. I am frustrated about that-- I l.o.v.e. corn. The first year here, they hardly grew past a couple feet tall. Second year, they were growing great and we were just about to harvest the ears when raccoons beat us to it and left very little for us-- maybe a few dozen. Third year, I didn't bother. Last year, I got less than a dozen, and the rest of the corn stayed small. I wasn't going to plant any this year, but I had some seed leftover so I used that up. The corn is iffy-- some of it looks alright, some of it is still puny. I'm ready to throw in the towel on growing corn. Another part of me wants to keep trying, figure out what works and keep at it. Maybe with the chicken poop I'll be cleaning out soon, I can compost that and till it into where I plant the corn next year... I just might give it another try next year. I love corn too much to just give up on it.

Corn at the farm stands around here is pricey-- most sell for $5 a dozen. Ouch! As much as I hate to do it, I get my corn from the big chain stores, they sell for about $3 a dozen or less. We easily eat a dozen for one meal between the 7 of us. I asked around, trying to see if anyone would give me a discount if I ordered a large amount of corn, so that I can put some away for the winter. I'd like to try and not buy any metal canned foods from the store. No one is willing to cut a deal. So when the chain store has their corn on the cob on sale, I am buying a few dozen here and there to freeze and put away for the winter. I feel a little better when I know the chain store I am buying from gets their corn from a farm in Pennsylvania. Not exactly local, but closer to us than Florida or Georgia.

When freezing corn, I recycle the spaghetti jars and use those for the corn kernels. There's a certain brand of sauce that uses mason jars, a little less than one quart size and I buy those when they're on sale. (hopefully I wont have to buy any this winter with all the tomatoes I have about to ripen soon!) I use a mennonite recipe and the corn gets frozen in liquid-- water with salt and sugar added to it. I don't like loose frozen corn kernels, I think they taste tough, but after trying this recipe, the corn tastes as if I just put it in there! Very good and Gretchen, the picky eater prefers this corn over the metal canned ones from the stores.

My Mom gave me an early Christmas gift and bought me my very own pressure canner today! I was lamenting the fact that freezing the corn was taking up precious freezer space and I was going to have to limit it to about 40 jars-- one jar per week until the next corn season. But now, with the pressure canner, I am going to be able to can the corn and keep it in the pantry instead! I have 9 of those less-than-one-quart spaghetti jars in the freezer now, and I'll can the rest, so hopefully I can put away 100 quarts instead of only 40. I look forward to pressure canning my chicken broth and other things I normally freeze and freeing up space for other foods.

First, though, I need to get over my nervousness about using a pressure canner. I have heard enough horror stories about them, so I am a little worried, but I'll be sure to read, read and read again, the instructions on how to use it. I'll be pressure canning my first batch of corn tomorrow, so wish me luck!


Beth said...


You will be fine with your pressure cooker. Follow the directions for pressure and time and be very observant of your gauge, adjusting the heat as needed and you won't have a problem. I love mine and have never had a problem out of it.

Have fun!!!

Beth said...

Oops!! I meant to say pressure CANNER and not pressure COOKER.

Ron said...

Ditto... the new ones have better manufacturing and a safety plug, so the worst that will happen is that it will pop off. No big deal. Keep an eye on it, and you won't have any trouble.

We had some Walmart corn the other day that was pretty good. We really should buy some while it is in season and can it. The offering around here isn't very good this year either.


Wendy said...

I was nervous about the pressure canner, too, but so far, so good ;).

I'm wishing you luck ... but you won't need it. You'll be fine ;).

jenny said...

Beth-- Thanks for the encouragement! I'll be canning after the kids go to bed tonight so I don't get distracted.. I'm looking forward to it!

Ron-- Well that makes me feel better about our new purchase yesterday-- newer models having better manufacturing. Once I get over the hump of using it for the first time, I'm pretty sure I'll be a whiz with it for the next time.

Believe it or not, the local chain store had corn cheaper than walmart! I was there yesterday after we bought the pressure canner and I asked for more corn and the worker bee brought out a wood crate that they pack the corn in. I asked if I could have the whole thing and she let me take it! Sweet! So one crate holds 48 (I counted) and now I have a crate to play with. Hmm... what can I do with it?? I bet you'd have ideas! :o)

jenny said...

Wendy-- Knock on wood! :o) And thanks for the vote of confidence! :o)

Ron said...

Oh yeah... pressure canner is definitely one of those things that is well worth buying new. Congrats, it should last forever (with minor replacements, such as rubber ring, over the years).

I really detest shopping Walmart for anything, esp. produce. We happened to be there looking at tillers. Usually, I find the Walmart produce sucks, and expensive to boot. Local grocery here has better quality, most of the time, and better prices too.

I need to get me a case of corn now! :) Esp. if it comes with a handy-dandy crate. :)


Peg said...

Hi Jenny:

Congratulations on your new canner! I had to come out of lurking to ask if you would mind sharing your recipe for canned corn, or maybe point me in the right direction of the cookbook?

So long as I'm writing, you are long overdue for a thank you from me for posting your relish recipe. I made relish last year for the first time, using your recipe, and it's really good! Thanks.

jenny said...

Peg-- Thank you! I'll be happy to share my corn recipe.. It'll be my next post. :o) You are very welcome for the relish recipe-- I'm glad you tried it and it was a success for you!