The other week I enjoyed a favorite Shupp family tradition – freezing corn. Of course, the setting was different – my house instead of theirs – but the ritual continues. Some of my earliest childhood memories involve picking, cutting and packing of some sort of produce. And through all of the work, sharing memories and laughing about past picking events.
At our farm, freezing corn starts with pushing a wheelbarrow through the rows of corn. Dad pulling ears until the wheelbarrow is full. This year, he did have some pickers in training as he tried to teach the boys how to pull only mature corn ears and to tell the difference between sweet corn and field corn.
Then mom and I joined the fun, shucking corn. We talked about the “important” items of the day, such as my 4-year-old’s upcoming birthday, the latest remodeling project at their house, the show string and other popular family topics. Then we moved inside, blanching the ears, cutting the kernels with an electric knife and bagging the corn.
Now, the family stories start coming out. Mom talking about her childhood. Dad talking about all of the aunts coming to the farm and he and my grandfather picking five wheelbarrows to keep the family stocked. As for me, remembering how my brother and I would “race” through shucking corn and getting yelled at because we did not clean the ears very well and left too much silk on them.
Right now, I have more than 40 quarts of sweet corn in my freezer and plenty of memories to go along with a meal.
-- Charlene M. Shupp Espenshade, special sections editor