Sunday, July 25, 2010

children of the corn

We had a windfall. Tabitha's father planted ten rows of sweet corn. It is in ideal conditions, an old fallow garden spot that he planted beans in last year then a cover crop of turnips through the winter. A healthy dose of chicken and cow manure tilled and planted. He coddled the corn early then left it to it's own devices.

Today was a day of bounty. Late morning I picked four of the ten rows of corn, only the top ear. Tactile memories from my child hood covered me. The sound of a breeze rustling in a corn field is specific. Tearing corn from the stalk, I have done this in a previous life.

Before I left the "show-canner" needed to be set to heat water for corn blanching. Our new grill has almost the exact footprint as the amish canner. All that heat could happen out-of-doors.

Once home the shucking of the corn began. Toly was the first to help in earnest. Then everyone got into the act.

My neck knife was the exact tool for the job of cutting the wormy ends.

Tristan takes his work very seriously.

He has inherited the meticulous gene from my mother.

Everyone helped even Rome.

Working together, saving food for winter what could be better?

These kids know where their food comes from.

I taught Tristan a nice method for getting all the silky hairs.

Sweaty and hot, Tabitha requested that I take off my hat for a photo.

I own a very sharp knife. The best thing is, it stays really sharp. Anyone that cares about "the little things" should have a knife like this.

Admittedly I'm biased my friend Patrick forges knives and made this one for me. After cutting the tips from corn cobs all day I will be able to shave with this knife tonight. It might seem machismo but having a really sharp knife around your neck but it is incredibly practical.

Tabitha has a neck knife also. She claims that it has changed her life.

We started by collecting jars from the root cellar and pump house. I went and picked the corn while Tabitha cleaned the jars and got the canning stuff ready. I arrived home with about four bushels of corn.

As you can see shucking the corn was a family affair.

We assembly line worked the corn until it was ready for blanching. The USDA canning guide said three minutes in boiling water.

I plopped them into cool water to stop the heat.

Then the corn queued up in the cooler with milk cartons of ice.

in the end the cooler might have been able to hold three or four more cobs.

Having all that heat outside really made sense but it sure was hot out there over that boiling pot.

Tabitha had all the jars ready for corn and came out to the production line.

We brought all the corn inside and started processing. I used an electric knife and a bundt pan to hold the cobs. It seemed to to do an excellent job.

I didn't try any other method. I can't say if it is better than specific corn knifes or not.

We chose the hot-pack method. The corn must be brought to a boil then put into the jars.

I was cutting corn so fast that my hands were a blur.

Here is my skinny wife packing the jars.

She stopped eating wheat and dairy. This has had a huge affect on her metabolism. Now when I say "I'm watching my girlish figure" it is Tabitha that I'm talking about.

Here they go--fingers crossed.

I finally got smart and got a stool to sit on. A knot started in the center of my back while standing.

Just ignore that huge pile of papers Tabitha is cleaning it today, really she is...

The corn was beautiful and very tasty.

Here is a picture of some of the final product.

There was a grand total of 19 quarts and 36 pints.
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