Carrie cooks up corn: Prairie Gardens CSA adventures

This week was a continuation of last week’s catch up cooking. I started off with corn from the CSA then I picked up a couple dozen more of classic yellow to freeze. And with the corn from my garden starting to fill in, my fridge was full to the brim.

How to pick corn

The first thing to look for is that the silks are brown and hanging down from the top. Second, feel the tops of the corn inside the husk. If the top of the corn feels round, the cob has filled in and is ready to be picked. If you are still unsure, pull the husk back a bit. If the kernels are still small, you’ll need to leave it a bit longer. Or say, the tip hasn’t filled in but the rest of the corn has. Squeeze the corn kernel, if the liquid comes out milky, it’s ready to be picked! If it’s clear, leave it a few more days!

How to BBQ corn

Now that you are an expert corn picker, what are we going to do with all that peaches ’n’ cream corn from the CSA? We could boil it and have traditional corn on the cob for supper – or step it up a notch and roast it on the BBQ! Have a sheet of foil for each cob you want to roast, place some butter or margarine with each, season as you like then add as much or as little cilantro as you would like. Roll it up and place on the grill. I placed mine on the second rack and not directly over the heat, as my BBQ was on high heat for cooking. They roughly took about 20 minutes to cook and was tasty. Thanks for the idea, Tam – it turned out great!

How to freeze corn on the cob

I love a good corn on the cob during the winter, but not the price. So, the last few years I’ve been buying extra corn at peek season. I’ve frozen it fresh, after peeling the husk away – and I’ve also blanched and frozen the cobs. Both work really well. I like the blanched better, as all you need to do is basically warm it up in a pot of hot water for winter meals.

How to freeze corn niblets

To freeze niblets: blanch the cobs, boil them and dunk them in an ice bath. Let them dry then put a big bowl in the sink and cut the kernels off the cob. This takes some practice, as you do not want to go too deep, as you will get some tough pieces of cob with your kernels of corn. Sometimes, you will only get part of the kernel, so I go back with the blunt edge of the knife blade and scrape the rest off. When, that’s all complete, measure the amount of corn you would like for each meal and seal it in a freezer bag (with as much air out of the bag as possible). Freezing corn this way, is a great alternative to canning corn, since you need a pressure canner to do corn safely.

Corn & tomato pasta

The next dish I created this week was Rachael Ray’s Summer Corn and Tomato Pasta. I thought this turned out quite well. I didn’t cook the tomatoes, as I wanted to try and see if the kids would eat it, so I stirred them in with the corn when it was golden. This light, refreshing dish would make a perfect side to fish or chicken.

How to freeze roasted beets

And to top off the week, more beets! I did a bit of homework, searching for alternatives to canning/pickling beets and came across this idea. I started with washing and scrubbing clean the beets, put them in a shallow baking pan and filled the bottom with some water (enough to cover the bottom of the pan). Covered the pan with foil and baked the beets for roughly 45 minutes, some needed 60 minutes at 400 degrees. Let them cool for a bit. When they are still warm but you can easily handle them, cut the tops and bottoms off and rub the skins off the beets. Chop into desired size of pieces. Then portion out (I did 1 cup portions) and seal in freezer bags with air removed. I hope these hold out well in the freezer, as they will be easy to pull out for supper and use for making borscht!

That’s it for this week – catch you next time! Carrie