Home Corn College Picking good corn

Picking good corn

When confronted with a large truckload of fresh sweet corn, it's hard to know what defines a good ear. After awhile, you might start to think they all look the same. And how can you check an ear without breaking the shuck? Here are some simple suggestions to help find that perfect ear.

Fresh CornFreshness

Fresh corn is the best corn. When sweet corn ages, its natural sugars turn to starch making the kernels hard and bland. Ideally you want corn picked in the last 24 hours. To distinguish between freshly picked sweet corn and corn that's been around a few days, examine the stalk at the bottom of the ears. The end of the stalk should be mostly white on the freshest corn. After 4 hours, the inside of the stalk turns light brown and after 24 hours, the inside of the stalk goes dark brown.



How do you like your corn? Examining the tassle sprouting the top of the ear will reveal the corn's stage. Some people like early corn or blistered corn that was picked before the kernel is fully developed. Early corn is easy to find because the tassels are light brown and the ears are smaller. Normal corn has dark brown or black tassels with fully developed ears about 3 inches in circumference. Mature corn has totally black tassels with the largest ears. People freezing corn usually like mature corn because of the extra kernels.



A good ear of corn should feel almost solid in your hand with tightly bound shucks. Loose-fitting shucks usually reveal imperfections or missing rows of kernels.The shuck should be a nice light green and free of insect damage.

Now that you've picked out the perfect dozen, here are some tips to keep it safe.

• Don't leave the corn in your hot car. Direct sunlight will spoil your corn if you're not careful.

• Don't shuck the corn until you're ready to eat. The shucks lock in the moisture and slow the spoilage.

• Refrigerate as soon as possible. Corn in the fridge can last for days.

• Don't eat it raw without washing it first. Standard food safety.