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August Vegetables: In-Season Favorites

August 24, 2016
USDA corn

Public Doman USDA

Although corn often gets negative press because of its connection to GMOs in field corn, most local farmers produce sweet corn for eating. Produced on a small scale, most sweet corn varieties are free of GMOS. If you are concerned, ask the grower at the farmers’ market or the produce manager at your grocery.

Fortunately, we’ve had rain in this area. Now is a good time to purchase local vegetables that you can put up for the winter when prices may be higher. You can eat most local sweet corn without worrying about ingesting GMOs.

Corn is one of the easiest vegetables to freeze and retains the flavor nicely. It’s a bit harder to can because you need a pressure canner, but canning can save space if you don’t have room in the freezer.

Another August vegetable that freezes well is squash. The directions are basically the same for any type of summer squash, and then you can use the frozen squash in recipes such as casseroles or breads.

Below are directions for freezing corn and squash and a some of my favorite recipes with these vegetables. Let yourself enjoy healthy local vegetables all year long.

Freezing Corn

  • Start with fresh, local sweet corn and freeze as soon as possible. If you have a delay between picking and freezing, put the corn in the refrigerator or ice it down so the sugars in the kernels won’t start breaking down.
  • Husk the corn and clean as much of the silks from the ears as possible.
  • Place the ears in a large pot of boiling water to blanch. The water should return to a boil within a minute. If it doesn’t, you have too small a pot or too many ears. Blanch for 4-7 minutes.
  • Immerse the corn ears in ice water. Leave them in the ice water as long as you did in the boiling water.
  • If you are freezing ears, put them in freezer bags and mark the date. If you are cutting the corn off the cob, cut to a depth of 2/3 of the kernel for niblets or 1/2 the kernel for creamed corn. For creamed corn, scrape the cob after cutting the kernels. Then bag the kernels and mark the date.

Freezing Squash

  • Choose your squash. Like the corn, put in the refrigerator or in ice water if you have very long to wait between harvest and freezing.
  • After washing, slice your squash into 1/2 inch slices. (Throw the ends away.) Slice enough squash for one blanching at a time so┬áthe pieces won’t┬ádiscolor while waiting.
  • Place the slices in a large pot about 2/3 full of boiling water to blanch. The water should return to a boil within a minute. Blanch for 3 minutes and begin timing as soon as you place the slices in the water. You can use the same water for up to 5 blanchings, just add more water as needed to keep the level to the 2/3 full mark.
  • Remove the blanched slices from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and place in ice water for 5 minutes.
  • Drain the slices thoroughly and place in freezer bags. Mark the date.
  • If you are freezing zucchini for baking, you can grate it instead of slicing. Then use a steam blanch instead of a pot of water. Measure into amounts convenient to your recipe and pack the grated and drained zucchini into bags or in containers, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top for expansion.

Corn Souffle

  • 2 C. frozen or fresh sweet corn
  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 c. milk
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. self-rising flour
  • dash black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Blend melted butter, flour, salt, pepper and sugar. Gradually stir in milk, and heat to boiling, stirring until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Let cool slightly, and add corn. Beat egg yolks until light and stir into the corn mixture. Beat egg whites and fold into the corn mixture. Pour into greased 2 quart casserole and bake 30 Minutes. Serves 6. (Thanks to my friend, Nancy Allison, for this recipe.)

Squash Casserole

  • 2 lbs. frozen squash, cooked
  • 1/2 c. melted butter
  • 18 oz. package herb seasoned stuffing mix
  • 1/4 c. chopped onion
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 2 oz. jar chopped pimentos (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Cook squash, drain, mash, and set aside. Mix together stuffing mix and melted butter. Pour half of stuffing mixture in bottom of 2 quart flat casserole dish, and set aside. Mix together onion, carrots, sour cream, cream of chicken soup and pimentos. Add mashed squash. Pour on top of stuffing in casserole dish. Top with remaining stuffing. Bake for 30 minutes.

 

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