This year, we purchased some heirloom corn seeds in the hope of seed saving the corn this year. Last year, we planted a hybrid corn. It was delicious and grew well, but when we learned you can never repeat with a hybrid corn because you never know what will crop up, we decided to be done with hybrid seeds.
So with frugality in my heart and heirloom seeds in my pocket, we planted and grew a humble but still absolutely delicious heirloom corn.
We were worried about it for a bit. Well, my husband was worried. The corn ears were slow to grow, and it was getting late in the season. We had beautiful, giant corn stalks and not much in the ways of ears. My husband had watered extensively with “duck water,” so the corn had plenty of nitrogen, but he was really worried about the lack of ears.
I, however, was not so worried. Forever the optimist, I had a talk with the corn and asked the plants to please get busy and make some ears. I don’t know if it was that talk or just time, but those beautiful stalks began to produce many, many beautiful ears of corn!
After two weeks of eating corn almost every night for dinner, we realized we had better do some corn saving. We decided we would freeze our corn, so the following tips will be helpful if you go that direction. But I also have tips for seed saving and, well, just really making the most of your corn crop from top to bottom.
I mean, waste not want not, right?
- After you pick and husk the corn, you need to blanch it before you can freeze it.
- Boil water in a large pot and place the corn cobs in the pot for 5 to 6 minutes.
- Remove the corn and place into ice water for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Let the corn dry and get your freezer bags ready for storage.
- Using a knife or corn scraper (one of these gadgets is totally on my wish list), scrape the corn from the cobs. Place the corn in your freezer baggies and save.
If you’re using heirloom seeds and want to save the seeds, you’ll need to leave several cobs on your stalks.
- Leave the corn cobs there for about a month, though they will need to be picked before the first freeze (so watch the weather).
- After picking the cobs, pull back the husks to expose the corn. You can braid the husks together to create a little group of corn.
- Hang the cobs to dry fully.
- Once the seeds are completely dry, you can remove them and then store them in a cool, dry place.
You are then set for planting next spring. I read that corn seeds can last 5 to 10 years if stored properly. That seems pretty amazing!
Before you throw away the corn cobs, which will surely have little bits of corn left on them, especially if you used a knife to scrape the corn cobs like we did, think if the chickens. If you have chickens or ducks, they will be in heaven with the leftover corn. If you don’t, ask your neighbors. You will be making some chickens’ days by sharing your leftovers. Trust me.
But corn is so awesome that there’s more you can do with it. Cut down your empty stalks (the ones not saving any cobs for seed saving) and decorate your front door or yard for Halloween in style and for free.
If you have more tips on making the most of your corn crop, please share below. I don’t know how to can yet, so if you have some tips or links to share, they would be great. Also, I have seen people used dried cobs to make lots of cool fall decorations. Please share your ideas below. Corn is pretty darn awesome!