Friday, August 19, 2011

Dried Sweet Corn

I'm slowly entering the world of food preservation. I've done a little canning so far. Then I found myself with some extra ears of sweet corn. Mr. Kim Chee doesn't love corn on the cob quite as much as I do, and it gets a little difficult to go through a dozen ears of corn. But I have a hard time not buying more--it's at the peak of its freshness now and corn never smells or tastes as good as it does this time of the year. So I decided that I would dry it and keep that summer sweet corn flavor and smell on hand for the darkest days of winter.

I'm stealing some images from Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Salad, since I prepped all my corn together for these two recipes.

So, like the salad, you want to husk your corn and boil it for 3 minutes. When the 3 minutes is up, dunk 'em in a cold water bath or run them under the faucet until they're cool to the touch.

Stand your ear of corn up on a kitchen towel (the towel will keep the corn kernels from bouncing everywhere.) Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off the cobs. Cut as close to the base of the kernels as you can, but try not to take off any of the cob.

If you get any bit pieces of kernels that stick together, break them apart. They look neat but will take much longer to dry.

Spread the kernels out on a baking sheet, making sure that the corn is in a single layer. If you're doing a lot of corn, split it up into two or more sheets. This was quite a lot of corn for the sheet, which also added to the drying time.

Yup. Didn't break the big bits of corn apart here. Should have. Took much longer to dry.

Mmm. Corn.

So, here's what fresh-off-the-cob corn looks. Remember that. All juicy and fresh.

Pop your corn into a 175F oven. Grab a wooden spoon.

Use the spoon to prop open the oven door just a bit. This crack will allow steam to escape, making drying easier.

Hi, corn!

Now walk away and let the oven do all the work. Come back every hour or so and give the corn a stir, to make sure it dries evenly.

After 2-3 hours (or more, depending on how much corn you're drying and how humid it is outside), you'll have a sheet full of dried corn.

Give it a smell. It will smell sweet and summerlike! Just like concentrated summer sweet corn.

Make sure it's fully dried. Feel it all--it should feel dry. If you feel anything resembling moisture, throw it back into the oven until that feeling is gone. 

I store mine in a clean Mason jar, with the lid on tight. It should be good throughout the winter. I'm planning on adding mine to some Crab and Corn Chowder or Potato and Ham Chowder. And sometime this fall you'll likely be seeing some sort of creamed corn recipe. Keep the bounty of summer in your kitchen year-round with this simple and old-school recipe.

Recipe: Dried Sweet Corn

any amount of corn, fresh on the cob

Husk corn and trim any undesirable bits off.

Boil corn for 3-5 minutes until cooked through. Place in a water bath or run under cold water until cool to the touch.

Cut or scrape kernels from cob, being careful not to cut into the cob.

Place corn in a single layer on a baking sheet. Spread out for ideal drying time.

Place corn in a 175F oven. Use a wooden spoon to prop the oven door, to let out moisture. Let corn dry for at least 2 hours (or more, depending on humidity levels.) When corn is completely dry, store in a cool, dark place.


  1. So you can use this in place of canned corn in recipes? Do you need to do anything to it or jus throw it in like normal?

    We put up corn, but we use the vacuum sealed bags and freeze it. I've never dried corn before!

  2. For longer-cooking soups and stews, you can just add it directly--I would add it as soon as possible, to make sure it rehydrates properly, and check frequently to make sure there's enough liquid, to prevent burning.

    For everything else, you can either soak it in twice its volume of water (so, 1 cup of corn to 2 cups water) for 1-2 hours (cover with boiling water), or simmer it for 30 minutes-1 hour until it's rehydrated. Then you can use it like you would use corn normally. It looks like the dried corn should double in volume.

    I'm planning on using mine for chowders or chilis in the winter, but there are many recipes on the 'net for creamed corn and corn pudding--some of which look like they'd be easy to adapt to a slow cooker.