Also, the sooner you cook fresh corn, the sweeter it tastes, because the moment you pick an ear of sweet corn, its sugars start changing into starches. Other than some newer "supersweet" varieties, most corn varieties convert more than half their sugar content to starch within twenty-four (24) hours of harvesting, says the National Gardening Association.
Selecting fresh cornAlways select carefully fresh corn from your garden and local markets. It only takes a little practice to become a good judge of the corn, and here's some tips we found to get you started:
- Choose corn that is still in its husk, if possible.
- Any cut ends should look fresh.
- Look for tender, well-developed kernels (kernels that are too large will be chewy and pasty).
- Kernels should be just firm enough that slight pressure will puncture the kernel, releasing the milky-white juice.
- Using your thumbnail, pierce a kernel; if juice is watery, sweet corn is not ready.
- If shucked, avoid any with hard or dimpled kernels
- Look for bright grassy green husks fitting snugly around the ear of corn
- Avoid small brown holes in the husk, especially near the top because those are wormholes.
- Sometimes, a fresh corn cob might feel slightly damp.
- Touch the silk tassels; they should be glossy and soft
- Look for silks which are slightly sticky.
- Avoid pale tassels because that indicates the corn was picked too early.
- Silks dry up when the corn is almost ready to be picked; however,
- There are differing views whether the silks should be yellow, golden, golden brown, or brown.
- Avoid black tassels, because that indicates it's an old ear of corn.
- Kernels should be in tight rows right to the tip of the ear of corn, and be plump, glossy and milky.
- Corn is ready to be picked as soon as the ears have completely filled out, so feel the ends of the ears.
- If the end is rounded or blunt rather than pointed, the ears are ready.
- If you can feel holes through the husk where kernels should be, then choose another.
- In your own garden, you might peel back the outer green husk to check and see if the corn looks good
- However, according to the National Gardening Association, once you open an immature ear, it's susceptible to insect and bird attacks as it continues to ripen.
- Fold the husk back up to prevent drying.
- Although a very reliable method of checking quality, many stores and farm stands won’t let you pull back the husks because disarranging it leaves the corn vulnerable to both pests and drying out. The husk helps to keep in moisture.
Storing fresh corn
- Eat corn quickly after harvest or preserve / store properly
- Refrigerate harvested corn if you're unable to eat it right away
- Because the loss of sugar is considerably slower at lower temperatures.
- Leave refrigerated corn unshucked and in a bag, or tightly wrapped, to help slow moisture loss
- Keep away from strong-scented foods because corn absorbs odors readily
- Once picked, sweet corn will hold in the refrigerator from five to seven (5 - 7) days according to the Illinois Farm Bureau.
- Not near a refrigerator? Keep freshly picked ears in single layers, rather than stacking them.
Page Last Modified 16 June 2015