For native midwesterners like me, sweet corn is a whole thing. We would have sweet corn at every meal for weeks while it was in season and never get sick of it. There’s just nothing like eating corn right off the cob that was picked earlier that day. The sugars haven’t turned to starch yet so the kernels are so tender and sweet. Anything you find in the grocery store has already become starchy and, in my opinion, inedible.
The next best thing is self-preserved sweet corn. The whole extended family would congregate at my grandparents’ house for a whole weekend of freezing corn every year. The men would carry their 5-gallon buckets out to the sweet corn field and pick off only the ripe ears before bringing their full buckets into the unfinished part of the basement for us to husk and clean. We had special soft brushes to help get rid of all the silk. Then, we would move into the basement kitchen and start the assembly line. My mom and grandma would man the stovetop; boiling batches of ears of corn until they were done. From there, my dad, grandpa, and uncle would run each ear along a specialized set of blades that fit over the top of some large bowls. They would run an ear along the blades, turn it 90 degrees, and run it again until all the kernels were cut off. Next, some of us kids would take a dull butter knife and run it along the length of the de-kerneled ears to get out the rest of the “corn milk” which was full of sweet, creamy flavor. Finally, we would measure out 4 cups of kernels and corn milk and put them in quart-sized freezer bags and lay them flat, stacked atop one another, in the deep freeze. Preparing the corn this way just a few hours after it was picked ensures the sugars don’t turn to starch and you can preserve that freshness all year long.
So, as an adult no longer living in the midwest, nor on a farm, I make it a point every summer to visit a local farm and buy a large box of freshly picked sweet corn to freeze for myself every summer. And I do this primarily so I can make this corn dish for the holidays in the year to come. Truth be told, I’ve never had this recipe with store bought corn, and I never intend to. I don’t want to sound discouraging when I say that store-bought corn might ruin this recipe, but I think it might.
This dish is on every Thanksgiving and Easter table in my family and there are never any leftovers to take home afterwards.
Gran’s Corn Pudding
- 4 Cups corn (see notes above about importance of using fresh corn)
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 4 Tbsp flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 eggs (beaten)
- 1 Cup milk
- 1/2 lb shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9×13 glass baking dish.
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Pour into prepared baking dish.
- Bake 50 – 60 minutes until set. Center should be slightly jiggly when wiggled. Top should be golden with edges starting to brown.
- Cool for 5 – 15 minutes before serving.