How to Harvest Corn

There is little doubt that sweet corn is one of the most popular vegetables in a garden. It is easy to plant, grows well, and has an unbeatable taste. One of the problems gardeners have is knowing when to pick the ears. Although harvesting corn is not a science, there are a few things you can look for to see when the time is right.


How to Tell if Corn is Ripe

One of the first things you should do when planting corn is to take note of the days to maturity for the variety you planted. Different types of corn mature at different times, and you cannot expect your corn to develop in 60 days if the variety you planted does not mature for 85 days.

Taking into account the type of corn you planted, you can start preparing for harvest by noticing the following signs:

  • The silk at the top of the ears will turn brown and dry out.
  • The kernels will feel firm if you peel back part of the husk.
  • If you pierce a kernel and the liquid is milky, it is ripe. If it is clear, corn needs a few more days

Tip: If you find your test ears are not quite ripe, simply pull the husk back into place and let the ear continue to mature. As long as you do not remove the ear from the stalk, it will continue to ripen.

How to Harvest Corn

Learning how to harvest it is probably the easiest part of growing corn, next to eating it! Once you have determined that your corn is ready to pick, firmly grab the cob and pull downward. The ear should separate from the stalk easily.

Alternatively, you can also use a sharp knife and cut the ear of corn off the stalk. Be sure to cut at the base of the ear where it attaches to the stalk.

Why Does My Corn Taste Bad?

It is disappointing to bite into a buttery ear of fresh corn on the cob only to find it does not taste good. Sometimes the corn tastes dry and feels mealy, other times the flavor is bland. Most of the time, this indicates that either you picked it too soon or late, or that you stored it too long before cooking. If the problem was not harvesting the corn at the right time, there is nothing to do about that other than paying close attention to the signs of maturity.

However, if the problem is due to storage, it is crucial to know that sweet corn tastes best if it is cooked an eaten immediately after picking. If you must store corn, be sure you know how to do it so you can keep the excellent taste you crave. After all the work you put into growing your corn, be sure you know how keep it fresh!