Corn Harvesting and Corn Storage Tips

The best time to harvest corn is known as the “milk stage” when the ears are fully formed but not yet ripe. This stage usually lasts about a week. You can determine when your corn is ready to harvest by looking at the silks, husks, and kernels. The silks should be brown and starting to dry, which occurs about 3 weeks after the silks first appear. They husks should hold tightly to the ear and the kernels should produce a little milky fluid when pierced. Supersweets will produce a clearer liquid. Each stalk of corn should yield at least one ear, and sometimes more.

You should harvest your corn in the cooler hours of the morning. Remove the ears of corn by twisting them at the base and pulling them off. After harvest, you can remove the cornstalks and use them as compost.

Store your corn in cool temperatures, usually around 38 degrees F, the cooler the better. If you wait too long to store your corn, you risk changing the flavor and reducing quality, as sugars begin to convert to starch almost right away in the kernels. You can cool your corn by resting it in crushed ice or placing in a container with ice water. After cooling, place your corn in plastic bags with a few small holes punched in them, and then in the refrigerator for storage. Depending on the variety, it is best to eat your corn within a few days after harvest.

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