A large portion of my garden is devoted to growing sweet corn. It used to be a race to see, just like tomatoes, who could have the first sweet corn on the table each summer. Now with hybrid varieties of corn like Revelation Hybrid that matures in 66 days even in cold soil and old favorites like Silver Queen Hybrids ready 92 days the sweet corn season runs through the summer.
This means plenty of sweet corn to serve fresh plus a wealth of ears to processed into canned corn, frozen corn, corn relish and my favorite dried corn. Dried corn can be traced back to the early colonies where the Pilgrims were introduced to corn by the Indians. Corn was dried and turned into corn meal or dried and used in corn pudding.
The Amish are especially fond of dried corn and anyone that has enjoyed an Amish style buffet has seen dried corn on the food line. Dried corn has a sweet nutty flavor, and can be simmered in boiling water to tenderize and served with a little melted butter or turned into corn pudding, my favorite. Thanksgiving dinner at my house wouldn’t be the same with a casserole of baked corn pudding.
Drying corn is easy. As with all food drying, picking the fruit or vegetable at the peak of ripeness and flavor is essential. Corn is full of sugar, but once picked the sugar in the corn starts to turn to starch. So with freezing, canning or drying corn it is important to process the corn as soon as possible after picking.
Husk the corn being careful to remove all the silk from the ears. Wash the ears in cool water to remove any foreign material and check for corn worms or any other insects.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Place the clean ears of corn into the boiling water, a few at a time. Remove and plunge the ears into ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Place aside to dry until all the ears are done.
Dry the ears with paper towels then cut the corn kernels from the ear. Spread the kernels of corn onto a cookie sheet or baking sheet in a single layer. Place in a 140 degree oven to dry. Turn the corn every couple of hours. Depending upon the moisture in the corn the drying process will take 4-8 hours or more.
Allow the corn to cure on the counter for a couple of days before placing in an airtight container. Store in a cool dark place until ready to use.