updated July 2020
PRESERVING THE SEASON: CORN
Here in Southern California, sweet white corn and yellow corn are now being harvested. They are starting to appear in Farmer’s Markets and grocery stores everywhere. How to preserve this popular vegetable? Well, it can be frozen, canned, pickled or dehydrated.
To partake of corn at its very best flavor, take it directly from the plant to the pot of boiling water on the stove. Without proper storage, corn’s natural sugars start to diminish quickly, resulting in a loss of sweetness within a couple of days.
SELECTING FRESH CORN Look for fresh husks with good green husk color, silk ends that are free from decay or worm injury and stem ends that are not too discolored or dried. Select ears that are well covered with plump, not too mature kernels. Avoid ears with undeveloped kernels, ears with very large kernels and dark yellow kernels because they can be tough and not very sweet. It is important to pick corn and process it within 2-3 hours. The sugar in corn is quickly lost, so for optimum quality process as soon after picking as possible. If not able to process immediately, store corn in the refrigerator.
FREEZING CORN Corn keeps well frozen. There are three ways to freeze corn: corn on the cob, whole kernel and cream style. When freezing corn, do small amounts at a time. Shuck the corn, remove silks, trim ends, wash and then blanch.
CANNING CORN Corn can be canned as whole kernel or cream style. Slight differences in preparation result in very different processing times. When canning you must follow tested recipes for a safe product.
PICKLING CORN Corn can be pickled using several tested recipes. Because these recipes use vinegar, corn can be processed with a water bath canner (as opposed to a pressure canner).
DRYING CORN Corn can be preserved by drying, however this is the least commonly used method today. The corn can be rehydrated or used in recipes such as soups.
Detailed information on preserving corn from several university sources:
National Center for Home Food Preservation: Search word: corn brings up everything you need to preserve corn, including recipes.
Ball FreshPreserving website: