Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why Bother?

Last evening Tina and I shucked 80 ears of corn. This morning I blanched the corn, removed the kernels from the cob and froze 55 cups of fresh corn. It is a great deal of work indeed, but work I enjoy! One might wonder, why bother to go to all the effort when you can get frozen and canned corn in a grocery store. There are a number of compelling reason.

Most importantly fresh corn simply tastes better. There is no comparison to corn I pull out of my freezer all winter with what is sold in the grocery store. It is also the signature ingredient in one of Tina's favorite soups. I will go to any length to make a stellar bowl of soup.

It enables me to support a local farmer. Tina picks the corn up every year from a family farm in Northfield, MN. When she got home last evening and we dumped the corn from two burlap bags and stared shucking I noticed the kernels seems slightly small, the ears just under ripe. I mentioned this to Tina just as the phone rang. It was farmer John calling, concerned about our purchase as it had been picked that very afternoon from the wrong rows in the field. He felt awful, knowing the corn wasn't at its best. We could return it, we could keep it and get our money back, whatever it took to make good on the purchase. It was just less than I expected, however it was  acceptable, we would keep the corn, he would keep his money and Tina would return the burlap bags tomorrow. Now I am certain unless your buying from a local family farm no one is going to call you to tell say your corn was picked from the wrong rows, please bring it back.

It is economical! 80 ears cost us $20.00, that is  .25¢ an ear. I got 55 cups of corn,  .36¢ a cup. You can't beat that in the store.

I freeze the corn in three cup vacuum sealed bags. You can can corn but according to "Putting Food By" the flavor holds up better in freezing. Besides, I needed a little break from canning today.

I love fresh corn, simply sautéed in butter with salt and pepper. Tina, she likes Cheddar Corn Chowder. In fact, I won her over with my first pot of this soup which she was skeptical about trying. It is a hearty soup and is really best at the end of summer with fresh corn. We enjoy it all winter long thanks to the freezing!

Cheddar Corn Chowder

8 ounces bacon, chopped
1/8 cup olive oil, or less
3 cups yellow onions, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
6 cups hot chicken broth
3 cups medium diced red potatoes, (don't peel)
5 -6 cups corn kernels
1 cup cream, half and half or milk depending on how rich you want the soup, I use cream
1/2 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

In a stockpot, cook bacon in olive oil until crisp. Remove the bacon, reserving the fat. Turn heat down and add the butter. Sauté onions about 10 minutes. Stir in rice flour, salt, pepper and turmeric and cook for three minutes stirring the roux constantly. Slowly add the hot chicken stock. Add potatoes, bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender. If your using fresh corn remove the kernels from the cob and blanch for 3 minutes before adding to the soup. Add the corn to the soup, then add the cream, half and half or milk. Add grated cheese in handfuls allowing to melt. To serve garnish with bacon.

For a vegetarian version eliminate the bacon and use vegetable broth.

1 comment:

Katie said...

Sounds like a great idea... but how many freezers do you have? :D I'm not sure where I would find space to put 55 cups of anything...