How To Dehydrate Corn + Some Tips For Cutting It Off The Cob

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Corn has come under a lot of fire in recent years. There is the GMO controversy, the organic vs non-organic controversy, the high fructose corn syrup controversy, the government subsidies controversy, the crop rotation problems… just to name a few off the top of my head.  This vegetable/fruit/grain (yes corn is all three) has sparked tempers, concern and angst among people who care about what we eat.

I wish I could say that this post would put your mind at ease and help settle all the controversy once and for all, but I confess I don’t have all the answers. What I can do is tell you how to preserve corn if you happen to come into some that you would deem fit to feed your family.  I also did a taste test after I dehydrated fresh corn, frozen corn and canned corn, and finally, I’ve got a few tips for you about how to get get fresh corn off the cob.

How To Dehydrate Corn Step-By-Step

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First start with corn you trust. I’ll get to frozen and canned corn in a moment.

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One trick to shucking corn fast is to place the whole unpeeled ear in the microwave (yeah, I know, another controversial subject) for about 5 minutes.

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 Then cut the end off.

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The corn slides right out.

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It is a pretty cool trick. The corn slides out with no silks attached and is cooked and ready to eat.

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However, if you have 55 ears of corn, well, that’s 5 minutes in the microwave times 55, maybe you can do two at a time so that’s 27.5 times say for 8 minutes. Ok, you see where I’m going with this math. It takes less time to just shuck the corn the old fashioned way. Luckily, I had two boys that were willing to help and of course, many hands make light work.

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We had the corn shucked in no time.

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 Wash your corn.

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Fill a large pot with water. This is my Victorio water bath canner. I think it’s the best water bath canner ever made but I love it even more, because I can use it for more than just canning.

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 Boil your corn for about 10 minutes.

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 I don’t really use a timer. I know the corn is done when it changes colors.

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Here’s a trick you might have seen floating around on Pinterest. It’s not a bad idea. The only thing is that if you’re not careful you could put nicks in your bundt cake pan. And this is something I wasn’t comfortable with having my children help do.

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So I thought I’d try this corn stripper. It’s a great concept.

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 Place the ear on the base.

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Place the top on.

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 Then run the blade down the ear of corn in a twisting motion.

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 Here’s another picture of the twisting motion.

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The cob is caught in the middle of the hollow tube.

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Unscrew the bottom to retrieve your corn. It is really a great idea and I would highly recommend it for use with children. However, it’s a lot slower than a knife.

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Come to find out the knife and bunt cake pan really do work the best. So you CAN believe some things you read on the internet…….:)

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 Break the corn up before you place it on the dehydrator trays.

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Load up your trays.

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 Here is a close-up of the corn before being dehydrated.

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I started out with 55 ears of corn and filled eight trays in my nine tray Excalibur Dehydrator

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 Set the temperature between 125ᵒF and 135ᵒF and dehydrate for 8 to 12 hours.

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 Here is the what the dehydrated corn looks like.

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As I mentioned above I wanted to do a taste test between the fresh, frozen and canned corn after they have been dehydrated.

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 The frozen corn before being dehydrated. It’s certainly cut prettier…..:)

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 The two bags of corn I had filled up about 3 trays in my Excalibur.

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The dehydrated frozen corn.

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 Then I tried canned corn.

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 Two cans of corn filled up two trays.

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The canned corn is darker because it’s been processed (cooked) more than the other types of corn.

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 The dehydrated canned corn.

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 All 3 types of corn. Notice the color difference.

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Here you can see the color difference a little better. The fresh corn is on the left. It is the lightest, then the frozen corn in the middle and finally the canned corn on the right. It’s hard to see in the pictures but there is a color difference. The fresh corn is light, the frozen corn a little darker and then the canned corn is very dark.

But here’s the big discovery, the taste was completely different between the fresh corn and the other two types of dehydrated corn. The dehydrated fresh corn tastes like corn. My kids eat it like a snack. The frozen and canned corn were tasteless. I don’t mean less flavorful. I mean devoid of all flavor!

I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know. After all, most of the time fresh is always better. But the surprise was how bad the other types of corn tasted. It seems to me if you’re going to go through the trouble of dehydrating corn you want the end product to resemble, well, corn. I suppose you could just the other types of corn as some filler for a recipe or something in a pinch, but I won’t be stocking up on frozen corn or canned corn to dehydrate.

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Before I add the corn to my food storage I vacuum pack it with my FoodSaver in Mason jars with a jar sealer attachment. This is a half gallon sized jar.

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 The attachment also comes in a smaller size for regular mouth jars.

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 Label and put away.

  • Mary Beth says:

    This looks like such a good idea! I just recently have become interested in dehydrating. I found a dehydrator for a really good price and tried dehydrating pineapple. It didn’t turn out as well as I thought it would. So I have a question for you: afterwards I noticed that the dehydrator doesn’t have a fan – could this be what is affecting the quality? Do you think I just need to buy a better dehydrator? I really want to try dehydrating again.

    • Bess Trainer says:

      I found out that you need to switch trays from bottom to top about every 6 hours, as the heat elements on the bottom will dry/cook the lower trays faster than the upper trays.

  • Sam says:

    I’m wondering what you do with the dehydrated corn…why would you want dehydrated corn at all? I like the tip on cutting the corn off the cob – I’m going to give it a try this year! Do have any tips on how to freeze the corn after you’ve taken it off the cob? Can you freeze the cobs? Thanks!

    • Jennifer says:

      Hi Sam,

      You can put dehydrated corn in any recipe that calls for corn like soup or chili. You can use it in casseroles after it’s been re-hydrated. To re-hydrate it just place it in water for several minutes, pour off excess water and place in recipe.

  • donna says:

    The best way to cut off the kernals I found was an adjustable mandolin!! (Not kid friendly but faster than knife cutting) Then blanch the uncooked corn in microwave with water. 😉
    Don’t forget to boil those cobs for corn jelly (tastes like honey)
    And the silks are a good tea for cleasening kidneys (diuretic too) silks can be dehydrated

  • Angela says:

    Sam,
    My family has frozen our corn for years. I learned from my mother. We par boil it for about 4 minutes, move it to an ice bath, then cut it off and freeze it in freezer bags 2 cups per bag. It can be frozen on the cob but it takes up alot more space in the freezer that way. I have been told by friends that they just throw the unshucked cobs into the freezer as well but haven’t tried this myself.

    Good luck!

  • Jeanne says:

    Really enjoying your blog Jennifer! I started to try to live a more self reliant lifestyle this past spring as well. I planted 4 City Picker garden containers, planted and assortment of fruits and veggies to see what grows best here in Denver. Also, I’ve been shopping at all of the local Farmers Markets and freezing and canning and dehydrating EVERYTHING! So far I’ve dehydrated Roma tomatoes, corn (isn’t fresh yummy?) and tonight I’m going to dehydrate blueberries (even though we got them at Sam’s Club 🙁 I love dehydrated blueberries on my oatmeal! I’ve canned tomatoes and many varieties of pickles and chutneys and salsas and frozen peaches and broccoli and green beans and corn and and and! LOL Anyway, thanks for this article and the ones on dehydrating blueberries and tomatoes. OH! And I have a good version of the Nesco dehydrator (The Gardener) and the Vacuum sealer too.

    Can’t wait to read more of your blog! Thanks
    Jeanne

  • Cindy says:

    Hi Jennifer. I was just wondering…for short term snacking…have you ever seasoned the corn with spices?
    Thank you.

    • Jennifer Osuch says:

      Hi Cindy,
      No, I have not tired that but I do know some people who eat the corn as a snack as you are suggesting. I’ve never heard of it being seasoned for snacking but I don’t see why you couldn’t do it. The only thing I would be careful of is that any seasoning you put on the corn will be concentrated when dehydrated so maybe start with corn that you think is under seasoned and add a little more seasoning the next time around to taste.

  • Sean says:

    The mrs. and I Live in Arizona so it is obviously very hot during the summer and very dry. We buy 50 ears at a time when they are ten for a dollar and shuck em, then just set them out on our balcony. With in 4 to 5 days it was completely dry. We would then both just sit out there and twist the kearnals or kernals, however you spell it, right off the cob, set up a fan, to blow away all the chaff toss up in the air slightly and then seal em up in vac. seal bags or jars like you did. I realize not everybody can do it that way due to location and not being dry like here in AZ, but it drys up quite well that way.
    We bought a fifty lb. bag of natural feed corn to nixtamal into tortillas and the differnce between the field or dent corn, and the sweet corn we dried ourselves is quite obvious. The feed corn we bought is about the size of four kearnals of sweet field corn. when dried. and the dried sweet corn will not Nixtamalize either. Which must have something to do with starch content i guess.

    • Jan Vessell says:

      What about that 50#bag of ‘feed corn’? I remember my dad buying it for the livestock, but to dehydrate (it’s already really dry) and vac/seal it, then what? Cook it to eat it? It would be too hard to eat ‘raw’ like a snack?? I’ve wondered about this before as I grew up on a small farm. Also, what is ‘nixtamal?

      • Jennifer Osuch says:

        If the corn is already dry you can vacuum seal it. I’m not sure I would eat feed corn as it does not have to be held to the same standards as corn grown for human consumption. Nixtamalization refers to soaking of corn in lime water so it’s more easily digested and easier to grind. You’d have to do this to make tortillas or tamales.

  • Karen Hambrock says:

    It has been many years since I dehydrated foods, but getting back into it seriously again now. Looking for a good dehydrator. Can you tell me generally how long these foods will last? Do I have to use a food storage vacuum ? I appreciate any info you can give me, Thanks

    • Jennifer Osuch says:

      Hi Karen,
      How long dehydrated food lasts depends on how you store it. If you dehydrate your food without any oil or fat added it should last at least a year at room temperature provided you keep it away from moisture, heat and light. Some people are able to store it for a lot longer than one year.

  • Carolyn Lawver says:

    That was a very interesting way to hold the cob from running away. Thank you for sharing.

  • Carolyn Lawver says:

    In the past i left the cob on the plant and brought the cob in before the rain hits. Then allowed it to dry. When it was dry then i removed the cover and silk and used my hand to get the kernels out. And put the kernels away for storage.

  • Cindy says:

    I received a box of older but not yet rotten corn on the cob. I usually would add spoiled food like this to my compost bins or worm farms, but I thought I’d feed the birds and squirrels this winter, instead. No reason to prep them, but I appreciate your directions on dehydrating the cut corn. I had mine in the dehydrator about an hour, guessing on temp and time before I found your post! Once the snow comes the critters will appreciate you!! And I love the free bird food!!

  • Renae Streich says:

    I am curious, when you dehydrated the frozen corn, did you cook it first like you did the fresh corn? I wonder if that would make a difference in the flavor.

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