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vegetable growing techniques
corn
harvesting and processing

harvesting corn
Photo of dark tassels on an ear of corn
Dark tassels mean that the corn is ready to harvest.
Corn usually takes between ten and twelve weeks to mature.  You will know that the cobs are ready to pick when the tassels on top turn a darker colour.  If you are not sure then carefully peel back the top of the ear and inspect the corn to see if it is ripe.

It's my experience that the corn cobs on the northern end (Southern end in the Northern Hemisphere) of a corn patch are the first to ripen as they get more sunlight.  But once you have picked your first cobs you usually have to harvest the entire crop within a week to ten days.  Cobs left on the plants longer than this lose their sweetness and become pretty tough.


processing corn
I usually only grow a single corn crop of thirteen plants each year, which produces around thirty five to forty cobs.  This is far too many to eat before the cobs begin to harden so after eating a couple of meals of fresh corn I harvest all the corn and process them for freezing. To do this I :-
  1. Remove the ears and chop off the base of each cob.
  2. Chop the cobs up into five centimetre pieces.
    They can be left whole but they pack down better if cut up into smaller pieces.
  3. Place the chopped up cobs in a large pot of cold water and bring to the boil.
  4. As soon as the pot starts boiling strain it in a colander and let the cobs stand until completely cold.
  5. Bag in plastic bags, seal and store in the freezer.

Corn frozen this way, while not tasting as good as fresh corn, tastes pretty good and should last months, rather than the ten day window of opportunity you have to eat it freshly picked.