Recipe: Salt-Packed Corn
I LOVE CORN!
Okay, deep breath and hear me out before you yell at your computer and tweet to your followers what an idiot you think I am. When I say that I love corn, I mean real, fresh-picked, local corn that is a non-GMO product.
Did you know corn is good for you? 1 1/2 cups of fresh corn has: 8% of our daily value of Vitamin C; 13% Thiamin (a B vitamin that helps maintain the nervous system); 10% folate; 7% niacin (regulates cholesterol); 8% phosphorus; 3% potassium; 3% zinc and 12% fiber. Also, just to top it all off, corn contains the pigments lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that are said to fight cancer, heart disease and foster macular (eye) health.
Okay, so now that I have your attention and you are excited to run to the local farm stand and buy some corn… here is an old recipe for putting corn up for the winter.
This is a great method if, like me, you do not have a root cellar and you don’t want to seal the jars in a water bath which cooks the product during the sealing process. I found this recipe in The “Settlement” Cook Book and revised it a bit for a modern kitchen.
Salt Packed Corn for Winter Storage
~12 ears of large sweet corn (4lbs of kernels)
1lb coarse sea salt
2 32 ounce Ball jars with lids
2 8 ounce Ball jars without lids
Remove the husks and silk from the corn and discard. Cut the ears of corn in half. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and have a large bowl with ice water nearby. Place the corn into the boiling water and boil for 2 minutes. Strain the corn into the ice water then strain the blanched corn from the ice. With a sharp knife, remove the kernels from the cobs. Save the cobs, covered in the fridge for another recipe (below).
Measure out the salt for the following formula: 1lb of salt to every 4lbs of prepared veg
Line the bottom of the jar with some salt first, then corn kernels, then salt, corn, salt, corn… you get the idea, right? Leave about 1 inch of air space at the top of the jars. When finished filling the jars, tap them down on a flat surface to pack the veg in and level the top. Push the 8 ounce jar, end side down, into the center of the jar with the corn. Seal the large jars with their lids and place the jars in a cool, dry place for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, open the jars and remove the 8 ounce jars. At this point, the salt should mostly be dissolved to a brine that is covering the corn and the kernels should have diminished in size to fill only about half of a 32oz jar. At this stage, I consolidated my 2 jars into 1, but that is not necessary. Close the jar(s) with the lid and store in a cool dry place, using as needed when a recipe calls for fresh corn through the winter.
When ready to use some or all of this packed corn, place desired amount in a colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water, then place in a bowl with cold water and allow to soak for 6 hours, drain, then repeat this process 3-4 times to pull the salt out of the corn rendering it edible.
So why the hell did I have you save the corn cobs in the fridge? Well, because I am not one to waste any part of a good thing and why wait until February to get the flavor of all your labor with the salt packing method above?
Lets make some corn pudding!!!
Fresh Corn Pudding
2 1/3 C Raw Milk (if you can’t get raw, pasteurized is fine)
1 1/3 C Raw Cream
2/3 C Cane Sugar
2 T unsalted, fresh butter
Place the corn cobs in a stock pot large enough to fit them. Cover the cobs with the milk/cream (it’s okay if it doesn’t fully cover the cobs). Place the pot over low heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to sit, covered, at room temperature until the liquid has cooled to room temperature.
When cooled, remove the cobs, squeezing the milk/cream from the cobs with your hands (don’t be a ninny, get dirty!) and throw away the cobs.
Measure out the milk and add 2 C of the milk/cream mixture back to the pot with the sugar and cook over medium/low heat, stirring constantly, until steam starts to form.
In a bowl, add the remaining milk/cream with the cornstarch and stir until completely incorporated and there are no lumps.
Add the cornstarch liquid to the milk/cream/sugar pot and stir constantly over medium/low heat until the mixture starts to thicken.
Have 4-6 ramekins at the ready. When the mixture has thickened, remove from heat, stir in the butter and portion into the ramekins. Place in the fridge until the pudding has set.
Remember that corn we packed in salt (above)? Well, I removed 4 tablespoons of kernels, rinsed them three times as suggested, and seared them on high heat on a griddle to char them. I then added the charred kernels to a pot with 4 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons water and cooked it all down until the water evaporated from the pot and the salty corn started to candy. I cooled the mixture to room temperature and, when the pudding was ready to serve, sprinkled the salty, charred candy corn over the top with some crushed polenta cookies.
But, hey, it’s your corny party, garnish with whatever inspires you.
Have you ever salt-packed corn for storage?
THE WRITER: Jori Jayne Emde is an accomplished cook, having worked in several high falootin’ kitchens in New York City. She is a bon vivant of epic proportions and a producer of world class unique condiments, elixirs and hooch under her brand Lady Jayne’s Alchemy.
Photo Credit: Jori Jayne Emde
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