How to Tell When Sweet Corn is Ripe

If you planted sweet corn in your garden, you are probably watching the plants grow and enjoying the sight of the tall, green stalks. Seeing the ears start to form is also exciting, as it is only a matter of time before you can eat them. However, if you do not know when to harvest your sweet corn, all your work will go to waste.


When Does Sweet Corn Mature?

Just like with many other plants, the time to maturity of your sweet corn depends on what variety you planted. Some of the super-sweet corn hybrids mature in as little as 60 days, while other kinds of sweet corn take around 80 days. When you plant your corn seeds, be sure to look at the seed packet to have a better idea of when you can expect to harvest your corn.

How to Tell if Sweet Corn is Ripe

Once you have determined which variety of corn you planted and know when to expect to prepare for harvest, there are a few other things to look for.

  • Look at the silk on top of the ear. It should be brown and slightly dry instead of green and almost sticky.
  • Feel the ear of corn; ripe corn feels firm with the kernels filled out from top to bottom.
  • Pull the husk back slightly to expose the first few kernels of corn. If you can pierce a kernel and a milky liquid comes out, the corn is perfectly ripe and ready to harvest.

Tip: Some corn stalks will produce more than one ear. The lower ears usually ripen about ten days after the upper ears.

How to Harvest Sweet Corn

If your sweet corn shows all the signs of being ready to harvest, all you have to do is cut the ear of corn off at the bottom and detach it from the stalk. You can also pull sharply downward and the ear should easily detach from the stalk.

Sweet corn starts to lose its sweetness soon after picking, so plan on eating your corn within a couple of days of harvest. You can keep it in the refrigerator in an airtight container to make it keep even longer. If you have more sweet corn than you can use in a short period of time, you can also preserve it for eating months after the harvest is over.

As long as you pay attention to the signs of maturity, you should be able to harvest your sweet corn at the height of perfection.