One of the main reasons to start your garden is to enjoy the best of fruits and vegetables. Some vegetables are advantageous for gardeners, as they are at their peak for a short period and therefore almost impossible to purchase them at their peak.
Sweet corn is a good example. Planting sweet corn in the garden is the only way to make the most of it. However, it can be difficult for you to know when the cobs are ready for picking.
The guide below will help you know when is corn ready to pick.
When Is Corn Ready To Pick?
Milk Stage Harvesting
If you want to grill sweet corn, slightly crunchy and beautiful, you can pick the corn during the milk phase. Of the five main species, sweet and sometimes dent varieties need harvesting at this time.
The milking phase is when the grains are full of milky juices and appear approximately 18 to 20 days after female silk and pollination by the male tassels by the wind. Silk usually forms around 50-65 days after planting, depending on the growing conditions and the variety.
1. Monitor the Signs
It is necessary to monitor it for signs of readiness about 70-80 days after planting to harvest corn during the milky phase.
In case you want to test whether the corn at the milky stage is ready for harvesting, the ears are green, you can loosen them by hand and have a robust appearance, and the bristles are a dry brown color.
The ears are the corn’s female part plant, and each nucleus is a “flower.” Silk is the stigma of each of these flowers. These silks need successful fertilization as the male pollen at the top of the plant passes through each label.
When pollination is complete, the grain swells, and everything becomes the cob of the corn that we usually eat.
2. Open the Corn Leaves
To make sure the kernels are ready, open the corn leaves carefully and press your fingernail on the grain. You should see a smooth, milky juice, which is not a clear and watery liquid. When you see the first one, it is ready for harvest.
But when you check and see that the liquid is clear and watery, it means the kernels are not yet mature, and you need to cover the grains once again and wait a few more days.
If there is no juice from the grains when you press them with your fingernails, you have come out too late, and the corn is at its peak and sometimes a little dry when you roast it to eat.
3. Pick the Corns
Pick the corns by holding them with your hand and twisting or gently bending them until they separate from the stem. Like summer lovers globally, you can grill the cobs and then slather them with butter and salt and enjoy them.
You can also eat them raw straight from the garden when still fresh, most preferably immediately you pick them.
Typically, you have to consume or store sweet corn within six hours of harvest to get the best flavor. A few days after harvesting your corn, the sugars gradually become starch, making them less sweet and harder.
Ultimately, starches play the seed’s leading role, nourishing new plants when they germinate in the spring. Therefore, the plant naturally converts sugars to starch effectively for this purpose. For traditional sweet corn varieties, this means that they will be at their peak only for a day or two.
The new sugary types extend the harvest time by starting with more significant amounts of sugar to remain sweet even after converting to starch.
If you want to keep it for a few days before consuming it fresh, leave it on with the leaves, wrap it in damp paper towels to keep it moist, and refrigerate for up to four days.
In case you need to preserve the corn for future consumption, blanch the ears in hot boiling water for around three minutes, allow them cool, and then cut the grains from the cob to 3/4 of the depth of the size of the kernels.
4. Freeze the Corns In A Plastic Bag
Proceed and freeze them in a plastic bag with a properly working zip or an airtight container, or pressure can produce the grains together. You only need to repeat the above process for creamed corn but cut the grains in half so that the grains’ hard bottom does not form.
Then scrape off the rest of the corn on the cob and mix with the grains after chopping. If you want to freeze the corn cobs, cook them for 7-11 minutes depending on the size (7 minutes for small, nine medium, and 11 large) and then let cool in an ice bath.
Cut them into 10 to 15 cm pieces, put them in airtight containers, and store them in the freezer. Typically, frozen corn remains fresh in the freezer for about 12 months.
Most farmers want the corns to be completely dry before harvesting for popcorn, flint, flours, and dental types. Remember that corn productivity depends on the plant’s geographical area, location, variety, and dry matter content.
1. Evaluate the Plant
Certain combinations may take longer to dry in specific geographical locations than others. When evaluating a plant, you have to verify in several places and not just in terms of scope.
It is mainly because the popcorn needs 13-14% moisture to make the perfect pop. You can ground flint and dent cobs into flour which you can use for livestock feeds or decoration purposes. Typically, the maturation and drying process usually takes 110 to 120 days, but it is worth waiting.
2. Wait for The Corn to Dry
Just wait for the corn to dry entirely until tassels, silk, and husk all turn brown. The corn must be hard as a rock, but too little or too much moisture can cause unpleasant popping. Try scrapping some grains and then place them in the microwave or popping them in the pot to test them.
In case the kernels are too rubbery after popping, or the edges are not even, it means they are not yet ready for picking. If you take popcorn seriously, see how you can test your humidity using the following method:
3. Grind the Grains
Grind some grains into coarse flour and weigh. Proceed and dry it in the oven at 250°F for around three hours and consider it again. Then, subtract the dry weight from the initial weight and divide it by the original weight to obtain the popcorn’s moisture content.
You will know if you need to let it dry a little more. After popping, when the kernels feel crispy and taste light on the tongue, remove the cobs off from the dying stems and scrape them into a bowl with a knife. You can preserve the popcorn in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to two years.
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When the plant’s dry matter content is 28-35%, the chances are that it is ready for harvesting. At this point, the leaves are at the ear level start to turn brown, and the leaves of the plant at the top parts are pale and papery. If you pick a plant and twist the stem, no sap will come out.
Note that corn accelerates the conversion of sugar to starch once you harvest it. It is best to cool the corn immediately after gathering to reduce the conversion of sugars to starch for the corn to remain well overnight.