Harvesting and freezing corn

The corn is a bit late to mature here this year due to the cold, wet summer.  The cobs are getting larger–but how do you tell if they’re ready?

There’s a simple way to determine if a cob is ready to be picked for eating fresh.  If the silky end of the ear is blunt or slightly rounded, rather than pointed, the cob’s ready to be picked.  Some suggest that you peel back the husk and pierce one of the kernels to see if the liquid is clear (not ready) or milky (ready), but if you do this test, and the cob isn’t ready, you’re opening the door for earwigs and other pests to crawl inside and eat your unripe cob.

For some varieties of corn, as the plant ages, its cobs develop chewy kernels that aren’t very appetizing eaten fresh.  These can be used for chili, soups, and other recipes that call for canned or frozen corn.  To get the kernels off a cob, cook the entire cob as you would were you to eat it fresh, then let it cool and cut the kernels off with a sharp knife.  Start at the top and cut down each side to the bottom.  Use the kernels fresh, or put them in a freezer bag and freeze them.  There are special tools, called corn strippers or corn cutters, which you can purchase, but a knife works just as well.

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