There is nothing more glorious than the long-awaited moment when local farm stands finally have their freshly picked Corn piled high like so many gold bullion. Or, for the lucky ones, when homegrown sweet Corn can be plucked right off the stalks in the backyard. It feels like the beginning of the real summer season.
Sweet Corn Harvest Tips
How do you know when an ear of Corn is perfectly ripe? It's easy to tell when you take a bite, but more difficult to determine when the kernels are still hidden beneath their skin-tight wrappers. If harvested too early, the kernels could be small and underdeveloped. Picked too late, they could be tough and starchy.
To recognize that magical moment when every kernel is tender, plump and sweet, start at the top of the ear. The silks should be golden- (perfect for boiling) to dark-brown (perfect for roasting) with a slightly moist feel. The ear should be firm and the pale- to medium-green husks should be stretched snugly over the kernels so you can just begin to feel the individual kernels underneath. In your own garden, sneak back a little of the husk and pierce a kernel with your fingernail. If a translucent milky fluid bursts out, you are about to experience a perfect ear of Corn. (But please don't do this at a farm stand or market out of respect for the farmer's expertise.)
Freeze and Stockpile
Summer's tender sweet Corn is truly a vegetable for all seasons, as good partially cooked and frozen for culinary mid-winter escapes as it is just picked on a sultry summer day. Cook and freeze loads. We can tell you from personal experience, you'll be glad you did.
Visit Gardening With Altitude for more tips and tricks