Freshly harvested corn is one of the most delicious summer bounties, but what happens when the season is over, and your only option is store-bought canned corn? You do your own canning! Trust us, home-canned corn is the closest you can get to fresh corn.
Since corn is a low-acid food, it has to be processed in a pressure canner and cooked at a really high temperature to get rid of any harmful bacteria. Don’t worry, and even if you’re new to the canning world, the process is straightforward: first, you have to prep it, then fill the jars, process them, let them cool and label them for storage.
There are two techniques you can use to preserve your corn in cans, so be sure to read the full guide we’ve put together with all the essentials on how to can corn!
Quality corn ears will, of course, give the best results. The corn you’re going to use for canning should be solid, without soft spots or missing kernels. But maybe you’re at the farmers’ market and can’t peel back the husk to look at the kernels, so here are a few tips to select the best sweet corn for canning.
Take a look at the husk. If it looks dry or has small holes, it means that corn isn’t fresh and might even have insect damage. Instead, look for bright green husks that signal freshly harvested corn.
Another indicator of fresh corn are the tassels, or silks, at the top of the cob. Avoid tassels that look mushy or dry, and they should be of a yellowish-brown color and smell fresh.
Now, let’s talk about quantity. Pressure canners can typically take either 9 pint-sized (500 ml) jars or 7 quarts (1 L) jars. For one pint jar, you’ll need about 4 medium long ears of corn, and for a quart jar, you should get approximately 8 ears.
Once you have your sweet corn ears, it’s time to prep them for canning!
These are the supplies you’re going to need for the whole canning process:
If you’re taking your first steps into the canning world and thus have never used a pressure canner before, we suggest that you read the manufacturer’s instructions first.
This is what you should do to prepare your canning supplies:
Prepping the corn might take a few minutes, so you might want to do it while your jars are being sterilized. Here’s what you need to do:
You should bring a large pot of water over high heat and fill a large bowl with cold water. Drop the cobs into the boiling water and blanch for about 3 minutes. Remove the cobs and submerge them into cold water for a minute or two.
Be careful not to slice so deep that you scrape the cob because that will add extra starch that can make your jar look cloudy.
As we’ve mentioned at the very beginning of this article, there are two techniques to can corn. The first one is the raw pack, which is the usual choice for canned corn, which involves ladling the food into the jars while it’s still raw and pouring boiling water on top. While this method is faster, it might lead to shrinkage.
The other technique is the hot pack, which is typically used when you’re going for water bath canning. Even though water bath canning is not suitable for corn, you can still use the hot pack method with a pressure canner. It’s going to take a bit longer than the raw pack because you need to precook your corn first, but the flavor and the color will both be better.
Whichever method you go with, we recommend filling one jar at a time if you’re working with a large amount for two reasons. One, the jars and the lids should be warm when you fill them, and two, the corn should remain as hot as possible throughout the whole process. So you should fill the first jar, seal it and place it into the pressure canner before moving on to the next jar.
You’ve chosen your technique, and now you’re finally ready to start canning! These are the steps to can corn following the raw pack method:
As a rule of thumb, they should be tight enough that you could still tighten them another ¼-inch to ½-inch (0.50 cm to 0.25 cm).
For the hot pack method, this is what you should do:
Now, for the last stage of the canning process, you’re going to need all of your canning supplies. This is the way to process sweet corn:
Maybe you’ve canned an ungodly amount of corn (hey, we’ve all been there), and no are wondering what tasty dishes you can make with it. Sweet corn can be stirred into soups, made into appetizers such as elote dip, and even leftover corn fritters.
If you’re looking for something quicker and easier, though, here’s how to transform your canned corn into cream corn:
All that’s left is to heat, and it’s ready to serve!
If you want to have crispy sweet corn all year round and have a pressure canner and a few canning jars in your cupboard, you can preserve it for up to a year and use it for different dishes.
We’ve provided a complete step-by-step guide so that you can safely and confidently can as much corn as you want. The process takes time, though, so remember to be patient and follow our tips for the best results!
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