How to Harvest Corn
Corn, also known as maize, is a versatile crop that has been cultivated for thousands of years. Considering its popular role in both food and non-food industries, it’s no wonder many people are interested in growing and harvesting corn themselves. In this article, we will discuss the step-by-step process of how to harvest corn to ensure you get the most from your crop.
1. Monitor plants for maturity
Corn is usually ready for harvesting between 60-100 days after planting. The physical appearance of the plants can offer clues as to whether they have matured. Look out for brown and dry silk tassels at the tops of ears as well as dark green husks. To test ripeness further, press a thumbnail into a kernel; if it releases a milky fluid, your corn is ready for harvest.
2. Choose the right time to harvest
Harvesting corn in the cooler mornings or evenings helps maintain its quality and freshness since hot temperatures can lead to rapid sugar-to-starch conversion. By picking it during cooler hours, you’ll preserve the corn’s natural sweetness.
3. Carefully remove ears from stalks
When ready to harvest, firmly grasp an ear by its base and twist it sharply while simultaneously pulling outward. This will help detach the ear from the stalk without damaging either component.
4. Check harvested ears
After removing ears from their stalks, pull back a small portion of the husk to inspect the kernels’ formation and color. Look for bright golden yellow or white kernels packed tightly in rows on the cob.
5. Prepare harvested ears for storage or use
Once you’ve successfully harvested your corn, it’s important to decide whether you will consume it immediately or store for later use. If consumed within a few hours, simply keep ears with husks intact until cooking time.
For short-term storage (up to a week), remove the husks and silk, wrap ears individually in plastic, and store them in the refrigerator.
For long-term storage (up to a year), blanch the corn by boiling it for 4-6 minutes before submerging it in ice-cold water. Next, remove kernels from cobs and let them dry before sealing them in an airtight container or resealable plastic bags; proceed to freeze.
Harvesting corn is simple when you follow these steps, but timing is crucial. As such, ensure you monitor your plants for signs of maturity and carefully remove the ripe ears. By doing so, you’ll set yourself up for success and enjoy the abundant harvest of sweet, delicious corn throughout the year.