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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Fresh Green Beans and Corn Off the Cob

We spent all day Tuesday freezing corn.  It's all the corn my Nana is getting this summer so we had 7 dozen ears of corn to put back.  It had to be shucked, silked, cut off the cob, cooked, cooled, and bagged for the freezer.  I know my Nana and Mamaw used to do this every year when I was little, but this is the first time I've ever done more than help shuck the corn.  I got to do most of the cooking (which is way too easy because it cooks in the microwave) and bagging.  Each bag gets about 3 ears worth of corn in it and is enough to feed 2-3 people.  It's already cooked and seasoned so all you have to do is thaw it and heat it up before you serve it.  I had a blast but it is hard work.  I'm glad I don't have to do that every day.

I was thinking though, I make a lot of my Nana and Mamaw's old recipes (well, they're not difficult recipes) for dinner on a semi-regular basis, especially in the summer.  I make their green beans, okra, and corn bread among others.  I hardly ever remember to share those recipes on here.  So tonight I am sharing my family recipes for green beans and corn.  I don't make huge batches of these as Nana and Mamaw did, but I don't have a huge family to feed, and I don't can or freeze my food like they did.  You should try these recipes now while the fresh summer produce is still available.

Fresh Green Beans

1 1/2-2 lbs fresh green beans (my Nana says blue lake are the best but I just get whatever they have at the store)
1-2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp onion powder
1-2 Tbsp bacon grease (optional, if you save bacon grease this is the perfect way to use it)

Start by breaking the beans.  Break each end off of the bean and discard it and remove the strings if necessary.  Break the beans into 1-1 1/2 inch pieces and toss them into a pot.  Once all the beans are broken cover the beans with water plus about 2 inches more.  Put them on the stove on high and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to about medium and let the beans cook for about 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes drain most of the water out except just enough to cover the beans.  Add the bouillon, garlic, onion powder, and bacon grease and place the pot back on the heat.  Let the beans cook down until they are tender and delicious.  It takes mine about 15 minutes more.

Serve them hot with pretty much anything.  Sorry, I forgot to take pictures of this as it was happening as I had company.

Corn Off the Cob

12 ears of corn
1/4 cup butter or margarine (Nana uses margarine, I use unsalted butter so I add some salt to mine)

Shuck the husk off of each ear of corn.  Watch for worms which sometimes get into the corn.  Carefully remove as many of the silks as possible.  Remove the corn from each ear using either a knife or a specialty device.  (Pampered Chef has this little gadget for $8.50 that makes this job so easy you'll want to eat corn more often.)  Once all of the kernels are removed put them in a large, microwave-safe bowl.  Add the butter and about 3/4 cup water and microwave for about 20 minutes, stopping to stir every 5 minutes.  Once the corn has cooked place the bowl in the sink with a few inches of cold water and let it cool for about 15-20 minutes.  When the corn is cool enough to handle, divide it evenly into 4 quart sized freezer bags.  Press the air out and seal the bags, then flatten the bags as much as possible and lay them on a small baking sheet.  Place the bags in the freezer and save the corn until you're ready to serve it with dinner.  To serve thaw overnight in the fridge or defrost in the microwave.  Pour the corn out of the bag into a sauce pan and heat on medium-high until thoroughly heated.  Serve hot, again with pretty much anything.  You can season with salt and pepper on the plate if you wish.  I also don't have pictures of this, but you'll find it looks similar to a cross between canned corn and canned creamed corn.  The juices from cutting the corn off the cob mix with the butter to become slightly creamy.

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