Harvesting sweet corn: How can you tell that corn has fully ripened?


Corn is a very popular crop and many of us love it. Everybody knows grilled corn for example. Sweet corn (Zea mays invar. saccharata) defers greatly from corn that is grown for domestic animals. As the name suggest, it is sweet and you can eat it even raw. But most often we cook or grill it and use it as a side dish. It contains plenty of carbohydrates but it is also a great source of fibber and vitamin B.


Photo: Pixabay

Harvesting Sweet Corn

Growing corn is not that difficult, but harvesting is hard. For example how do you know when is it properly ripe? Well, the first sign to go by is that the “hair” in each ear is dry and dark brown. Next, you should examine the grains. It should be yellowish (seeds that still need ripening are rather white). Try poking the seeds with your fingernail or something sharp. If they are still soft and a watery liquid oozes out, they are not fully ripe. Only when you see a milky liquid then you know that your corn is ripe.

Harvest Tips

What if more corn ears than you can use become ripe at once? Well in a situation like this there is nothing to wait for and you must act. If you leave them hanging on the plant the seeds will become starchy – you will feel like you are eating a flour. This is a clear sign of overripe seeds. Therefore, make sure that all ripe ears are removed from the plant but to preserve the taste and freshness do not remove the husk leaves and only peel it just before processing.

Corn is a Great Source of Nutrients

Well, we know that corn is great but why should we eat it? In addition to a great taste, there are other reasons for its cultivation and consumption. Corn is a great source of fibber and we all know that fibre is important for proper functioning of our digestive tract. Even though it contains plenty of carbohydrates, they have a medium or low glycemic index (GI). GI tells us how long it takes to digest carbohydrates. Foods with high GI index are unhealthy because they are digested quickly and cause a sudden spike in blood sugar.

Photo: Pixabay

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.


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