When should I harvest sweet corn?


When should I harvest sweet corn?


Sweet corn should be harvested at the milk stage.  At this stage, the silks are brown and dry at the ear tip.  When punctured with a thumbnail, the soft kernels produce a milky juice.  Over-mature sweet corn is tough and doughy.  An immature ear will not be completely filled to the tip and the kernels produce a clear, watery liquid when punctured. 

The harvest date can be estimated by noting the date of silk emergence.  The number of days from silk emergence to harvest is approximately 18 to 23 days.  Prime maturity, however, may be reached in 15 days or less if day and night temperatures are exceptionally warm.  Most hybrid sweet corn varieties produce two ears per plant.  The upper ear usually matures one or two days before the lower ear. 

Harvest sweet corn by grasping the ear at its base and then twisting downward.  Use or refrigerate sweet corn immediately after harvest.  Optimum storage conditions for sweet corn are a temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of 95%.