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TEXARKANA, Ark. –
A truckload of fresh-from-the-field corn on the cob is a glorious site to me. I have
fond memories of going to the river bottoms growing up and getting a pickup truck
load of corn. We would then sit under the tree and shuck all of it so it could be
preserved for eating later.
Knowing what to look for when purchasing sweet corn, and the best time to purchase
it, will give you a bounty that will taste like summertime all year long!
If you want the freshest sweet corn, look for:
To check the corn, pull back the husks at the end of the ears.
For best quality, the corn should be in the milk stage, which means the corn is at
its sweetest. If a kernel is broken, the white milk should come out of the corn. If there is no
liquid, the ear has passed its prime, and the kernels will be doughy.
For maximum sweetness, enjoy right after harvest. If sweet corn cannot be eaten right
away, leave in husks, remove long shanks and store uncovered in the refrigerator for
no longer than 5 days.
If it is necessary to refrigerate for later use, cool rapidly to below 40°F to retain
sweetness and tenderness, because the sugar in corn turns to starch quickly at higher
temperatures. Corn that is the sweetest will keep for about a week in the refrigerator.
For longer storage, preserve by freezing, canning or drying.
What varieties of sweet corn should I look for?
When purchasing your corn, consider that there are several varieties of sweet corn
available. Some, such as super sweet, have more sugar than other varieties and will
keep longer in the refrigerator. Corn also come in a variety of colors: white, yellow
and the varieties that have both colors of kernels on the same ear. Individual preferences
vary; try different varieties to find your favorite.
At farmers markets you can find farm fresh corn. This weekend I bought Bradley AR
corn at the Gateway Farmers Market. It was so sweet and good. When buying at the market
or back of a truck, buy it in the morning. As it sits in the sun, sugar starts to
convert to starch affecting flavor. Hot temperatures will definitely affect the flavor. So
buy it on the way home rather than at the beginning of a shopping expedition.
Buy fresh corn when it is locally in season, such as now. Corn begins to lose flavor
immediately after being picked. If you have to purchase corn at the supermarket, be
sure that the corn is advertised as locally grown.
If you purchase more than you can use immediately, sweet corn can be preserved for
later use by freezing, canning or drying. For best quality, corn should be preserved
right after picking.
Check out our resources for preserving vegetables.
If you would like to receive more information on corn, contact the Miller County Extension
Office, 870-779-3609 or visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse.
Grill up some sweet corn on the cob for dinner tonight. It combines fresh sweet corn
with savory herbs for that just right taste.
Optional: If you are unsure about cooking with the husks on, place each corncob on
a square of aluminum foil. Tightly wrap each ear and puncture to allow excess steam
to escape while grilling.
By Carla Due County Extension Agent - FCSThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Due County Extension Agent - FCSU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 firstname.lastname@example.org