When Do You Know Corn Is Ready
Edward R. Forte
June 20, 2022
The day will come when you’ll find yourself looking up at corn stalks that are now taller than you and wondering if the time is right to snap those ears off for tonight’s dinner.After corn silks are fertilized by the tassels at the top of the stalk, they’ll shrivel up as the ears mature.After a season or two of guessing and testing, you’ll get very good at gauging your corn’s ripeness just by looking at the kernels.Because you have about three days after they become ripe before the sugars in the kernels turn to starch, seasoned gardeners have traditionally practiced cooking corn as close to harvesting as possible. .
How Long Does It Take to Boil Corn?
The answer depends on its freshness and sweetness, as well as whether it’s still on the cob, in its husk, or shucked into kernels.This article explains how long you should boil corn to yield a toothsome yet tender bite.Note that these times will vary based on freshness, size, type, and amount being cooked.Generally, sweet, fresh corn will not need to boil any longer than 5–10 minutes.The freshest corn is found at the height of summer, especially at farmers markets.The sweeter and fresher the corn, the less time it takes to boil due to its higher moisture content (2).Corn can be grown to favor genes that produce sweeter kernels.If already husked, place the ears of corn in boiling water and remove them after 2–5 minutes, depending on the freshness and sweetness.The freshest, sweetest kind will take no longer than 2 minutes to boil.Once boiled, enjoy your sweet corn on its own, with some butter and salt, or in one of these corn-centric recipes: Grilled Cajun shrimp.Frozen varieties are also convenient to use in stews and soups, or when you simply don’t have access to fresh corn.Unsurprisingly, frozen cobs take longer to boil than their fresh counterparts.Generally, 4 medium ears measuring 6.8–7.5 inches long (17–19 cm) each need about half a gallon (1.9 liters) of water in a large pot to boil through.But to enjoy a perfect ear of corn, you need to know how to pick the freshest from the bunch. .
How and When to Pick and Cook Sweet Corn
It's easy enough to determine whether a tomato or strawberry is ripe, based on its appearance and texture.But how do you know when it's the right time to pick an ear of organic sweet corn on your small hobby farm or in your vegetable garden?To determine whether it's time to pick your sweet corn by mid or late summer, follow these steps.These tassels, which include the cornsilk, are the part of the plant that both bears and receives the pollen.When corn is ready to harvest, the cornsilk turns from a light blond color to a dark brown.When corn is ready to harvest, the cornsilk turns from a light blond color to a dark brown.To double-check the ripeness of the corn, pull back the husk a little bit and take a peek at the kernels.Choose a pot large enough to hold the amount of corn you're cooking, plus enough water to fully cover the ears.If you remove the husk, rub softened butter on the corn kernels before baking or grilling.You can eat the corn right off the cob, or slice off the cooked kernels with a knife to use in recipes, such as salads, soups, or pasta dishes.The cooked kernels can also be frozen for future use—perhaps a delicious taste of summer on a wintry night. .
When To Harvest Corn For Perfect Ears
A delicious summer staple, corn is the backbone of so much of what we eat in the United States.Whether it’s eaten as fresh sweet corn or dried to make cornbread or tortillas, we rely so much on this wonderful plant.With its kernels hidden from view, how can we tell when our corn is ready to harvest and time to enjoy the sweet fruits of our labor?Over time it will shoot out more leaves and push upwards, eventually forming nodes and growing ears of corn.That means that the seeds have been planted, germinate and reach about 12-18” high by early July.You want to make sure that your corn is ready before a killing frost in the fall undoes all the plants’ hard work.Unlike when you pick an ear in the home garden, mechanical combines are used to harvest fields of dry corn for animal feed.The quality of homegrown sweet corn that’s harvested in the morning from the garden and eaten for lunch is unsurpassed by anything you’ll find on a grocery store shelf, you can taste the sugar in every kernel!So, as soon as the chance of frost is gone, and the daily temperature reaches around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, you can go ahead and start planting your corn kernels.The corn cobs will start out tiny, and with each passing week swell up in size.Search for the long, semi-transparent white threads called silks that emerge from the top of the ear and sway in the breeze.Picked while fresh with a milk like substance that oozes from the kernels when ripe; immediately after the silk turns brown.indurata): This is sometimes called Indian Corn, it comes in a range of colors and can be used as cornmeal or animal feed.Once this sign appears, you can test for readiness by gently pulling back some of the husks and pressing your fingernail into one of the kernels.The husks act as a cover for the baby kernels and might be a little difficult to peel back.At this point, you’ll want to harvest the entire crop in one go and be able to process the ears fairly quickly.Be careful that you don’t damage the stalk, there might be a few more ears ready to pick in a week’s time.If you’re growing hard corns like popcorn, be sure to leave your ears in the field to dry for 4-6 weeks past when the green disappears from the husks.Gardeners may find it hard to wait, but your patience will be rewarded with a healthier and plumper seed!Just add the shucked ears to a pot of boiling water and quickly remove it after four minutes of processing.Dunk it into ice water to stop the cooking process and then cut off the kernels with a knife. .
How Do You Grill Corn on the Cob?
First, you’ll want to pull down the husks without removing them completely – just expose the corn and the cobs.Then place the corn in either a pot or bucket of cold water, in which it will soak for up to 30 minutes.When you do cook corn on the cob directly over embers you will need to cover up each ear with foil before grilling. .
Growing Sweet Corn from Sowing to Harvest
Picking the cobs, then excitedly peeling back the sheath to reveal those full, creamy kernels is just magical!Grow sweetcorn in a spot that receives plenty of sunshine, in soil that’s been enriched with a lot of well-rotted organic matter such as compost.While the seeds may be sown directly outside once the soil has warmed up, the safest way to sow is into pots in the protection of a greenhouse, polytunnel or cold frame.That way you can begin sowing three to four weeks before your last frost date and enjoy a head start on outdoor-sown corn – a huge advantage in shorter growing seasons.The squash will carpet the ground and help suppress weeds as the sweetcorn grows skywards.It will appreciate watering in very dry weather, particularly from late summer as the silks appear and the cobs begin to form.The cobs are ready to pick when the silks at the end turn dark brown, usually around six weeks after first appearing.Peel back the top of the protective sheath then sink a fingernail firmly into a kernel.If you have tips for growing or enjoying super sweet corn, then please share them in the comments section below. .
When and How to Harvest Corn
Especially sweet corn, which is loaded with fiber, vitamin C, folate, thiamine, magnesium, and potassium, all of which are essential to human health.You’ve sown the seeds and watched them grow from cute green seedlings all the way into massive, four- to six-foot-tall stalks, depending on the variety you planted.If it’s sweet corn variety you’re growing, you dream of peeling back the husk and taking a huge bite of fresh, utterly delicious kernels.indentata), also called field corn, is typically used to feed livestock or dried and milled as a grain.rugosa), aka the best type ever, is most often sold and enjoyed fresh as a vegetable, or it may be canned or frozen.indurata), aka Indian corn, comes in a range of colors and is also used as animal feed or to make cornmeal.everta) is a special type of flint corn bred to pop when kernels are dried and heated, rather than cracking.For simplicity, I’ve divided the two harvesting times, or methods, into two sections: milk stage and dry.If you want that sweet, slightly crunchy, divine-for-roasting corn on the cob, you’ll want to harvest ears at the milk stage.Of the five main types, predominantly sweet and occasionally dent varieties are harvested at this stage.To harvest maize in the milk stage, you’ll want to start watching it for signs of readiness at around 70-80 days after sowing.Here’s how to tell: ears will be green and feel full and firm when you wrap your hand around them, and the silks will have a dried-out brown color.To harvest the ears, grip them with your hand and gently twist or bend them downward until they break off from the stalk.In the days after you harvest the maize, the sugars gradually turn to starch, causing them to become less sweet and more tough.For popcorn, flint, flour, and dent varieties, most growers wait until the kernels are completely dry before harvesting.You can store the popcorn in an airtight container for up to two years, in a cool, dry place.For popping instructions, see this scrumptious recipe for salted honey butter popcorn on our sister site, Foodal.(I’ve done this several times with dried dent corn in my Blendtec because I love cornmeal mush, which is similar to polenta or grits.).Then bake these delicious lemon cornmeal cookies, also from Foodal, with whole grain maize flour you grew in your own garden. .