Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Canning Corn


The flags were flying in the neighborhood.
It looked so wonderful.
The Boy Scouts put flags in yards as a fund raiser.
As I saw the sun shinning on the flags I felt a surge of patriotism.
I am thankful for America.

I am thankful to be living where we can grow our food and preserve it.  It is a thrifty, healthy and fun activity to do alone or with the family and friends, or pets.  The food just appears out in fields and in yards, and then we pick it and preserve it....we can bottle it, or freeze it, or smoke it, (really, in a smoker..no, not THAT kind of smoke...) or dry it.  We know how to do all this stuff in this state.

Yesterday we picked corn. 

We also raided our neighbors garden.

Norman and Connie have a plot of ground out on the Church Stake Farm.  Connie took me there a couple of weeks ago.  I didn't think I would ever be able to find it.  I didn't go looking for it, honest!  But, there it was, on the road to where we went to pick corn yesterday.  So, our truck just pulled off the side of the road right in front of the garden....it was the weirdest thing.... V should have someone check out the steering on our truck....why would it just turn off the pavement and park itself on the side of that garden.... It was amazing.

So, since we were there, V picked a zucchini.  When he put the basket of corn and the zucchini on the deck Ivy had to check it out.  I was hoping she would help shuck the corn, but she disappeared when it was time to do the work.  Dogs and kids are a lot alike.  Work just has that effect on them.

With Ty, Kattie, Ashley and me the corn only took a few hours... and the girls were smart and put on clothes (or rather took off clothes) so they could soak up the autumn sun, and they all got tan lines.

The new momma was really happy to get some time in the sun.  Her California tan has really faded since having a baby, and she just couldn't let that happen.  But, Tyia has tan lines from this sun! She could never get them in Arizona...but this is a different sun.  It is another one of those weird things.....!  Who knows why?  Could it be the elevation?  Could it be the fact that the air is 60 degrees cooler here, so we want to stay outside in the sun longer?  Who knows?

We all took turns husking, blanching, cutting the corn off the cob, bagging, bottling, and tending the baby.  And little Hagen kept us busy and talked non stop.  Boys that are 3 years old need to talk.  And they need to be noticed.  And he was so good.  He even took a nap on my bed for awhile.  What a good boy!!

Isn't he just the cutest?
He knows how to smile right on cue....."cheese".... and he does it!

We had a couple of uninvited guests....but they sure were entertaining.
These little guys just appear out of nowhere.
I don't know where they come from or how they get in the husks but they do.
See the goop at the tip of the corn....that is where this little guy has been eating.
We just shook him off (into the pile of husks) and kept on husking.
When the corn went to the "chopping block" the chopper cut off the yucky part.
That is how it is done.
It isn't so bad....after a couple of them you get used to it.
Sometimes we find ladybugs.

We learned that blanching the corn first, then cutting it off the cob was the easiest for freezing.

What?  You don't know what "blanching" is.
Well, I am here to teach you these things.

Blanching is an easy technique that many cooks use to keep vegetables crisp and tender. By boiling vegetables briefly in a big pot, then immediately chilling them in ice water is blanching. Blanching preserves texture, color and flavor.  It keeps your food full of the vitamins and good things your body needs.


I know, Kattie, isn't just the most bizarre thing.?  But it is true.  It is amazing the things I am able to teach you.  Just hang with me, girl, and you will just keep learning and learning things.  It just happens like this in Idaho....it is grrrrreat being here.

After the corn is cooled in the ice water it is cut off the cob.  At that point it can be placed into Ziploc freezer bags, with a pat of corn, squish out all the air, and seal.  Lay the packages out flat and put them in the freezer.  Whallllla!  You have frozen corn ready when you need some fresh vegetable to add to a dinner, a soup, or salsa...!

If the corn is going to be bottled then the process is a little different. 

The jars must be sterilized.  Just add a little white vinegar to the water and the bottles stay clean and sparkling.

The lids need to be sterilized as well.  Don't forget to add a little white vinegar to them so the water minerals won't leave a residue on the lids.  They just need to heat long enough to soften the rubber so it will seal on the bottles.

Fill the bottles with the corn which has been sliced off the cob.  Leave about 1 inch head space.  Add 1/2 tsp. salt and fill with boiling water.  Place a knife down the sides of the bottle to wiggle out the air bubbles.  Then place the bottles in the canner and add 3 quarts of water to the canner.

At this point you have to say goodbye to the fresh corn.  Tear yourself away, and get the lid on the canner.
Be sure the arrows are lined up and the lid is on securely.

If you are an over achiever like I am, you will need to get your daughters canner, too.  Then turn on the heat.  Let the steam come out of the top until it is a steady stream, place the weight on.  Corn needs to be pressured at 15 lbs for 55 minutes at my elevation.  Yep, the elevation matters.  It is the little things in life that you need to know.  So when the weight starts to rock you can lower the heat a little, but be sure the weight is still rocking slightly, so the heat is keeping the canner at 15 lbs.

At this point I go and get my new grandson and hold him.  I tell his mom to go and clean the kitchen and do the dishes.  That is another little thing in life that women of my age know.  When age creeps up on you, you discover all kinds of things like this that you have hidden in the knowledge file of your brain.  It just amazes me. 

When the 55 minutes are up, turn off the heat.  But DO NOT try to open the pressure canner.  It has to cool down.  There is a little rubber sticky up thing that has to fall back down in the top of the lid.  Sometimes this can take a while.  So wait, a while.  You need to figure out for yourself how long "a while" is.  It varies.

When "a while" has passed and everything is cooled down, carefully open the lid.  Be careful.  The water inside is still very hot.  So, remove the lid carefully.  Remember this part.  Be careful.  Put the lid in the sink or somewhere no one else will touch it.  It is still hot.

Then get out the claw things...they grip the bottles, and place the bottles on a towel on the cabinet top.  The towel will protect the counter top and soak up the hot water which is on the bottles.  Leave about an inch between each bottle.  Now, step back and admire your glorious work.  Raise your arms high above your head and do a dance.  Twirl.  It helps make this time a celebration.

It won't be long and you will hear the most glorious sound.  A POP!  It is amazing!  How do it know?  I often wonder that.  How do it know. But it do.  And then you will hear another POP!  Before you know it your counter will look like this.  And the corn will sing to you, as it POP's.  That too is amazing.  I love to hear singing corn.

And if you desire the frozen corn.... well, you have it stacked some where in your kitchen.  You can place it in the freezer anytime.  Just keep it flat and stack them up.  They are so handy.  And little boys will dance with you when they go in the freezer.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, or not.

 Little boys sometimes think..."What's the big deal about all this corn?  The husks are off and the cobs are gone, and this is all there is?  You have been working on this all day and I see 16 pints of corn on the counter, and 16 bags of corn.  There are 2 to 3 cups of corn and a couple of pats of butter in each of these quart size Ziploc bags.  Are you kidding me!  This is all there is?" 

 I might not know exactly what the little angel boy is thinking....  It could be something entirely different.  It could be, "Hey, I ate my hot dog and chips hours ago.  I took my nap.  I have been very good.  Now, when is supper?  Are we eating corn for supper.  Is that why Uncle Varce is grilling all those vegetables outside?  Why is he grilling corn, too?  Where are the hamburgers you said we were going to eat?  I don't see any hamburger patties anywhere!  Can I have a snack?  Can I have some juice?  When are we going to eat the hamburgers?"

Sorry Hagen.  Yep.  That is all the corn we are freezing and canning for today.  Yep, we are cooking the veggies to make The Pioneer Woman recipe for our salad.  Yep, we are grilling hamburgers, too.  Hang in the little guy.  Supper is nearly ready.  Right after Aunt Tawny sits down and rests for just a few minutes.

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happy, in love, getting closer to retirement, love my family, love my Savior.