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How to Can Corn

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on May 31, 2022

There's no doubt that corn tastes best the day it's harvested, but the canning process lets you enjoy the summer-fresh taste of corn all year long. It's not hard to can corn, but it's important to follow safety guidelines. You'll need to use a pressure canner, since corn, like many vegetables, is low in acid. A pressure canner heats food to higher temperatures than a water bath canner, which helps kill toxins that cause food poisoning. Read on to find out how to preserve corn by canning. 

What Are the Best Varieties of Corn to Can?

The three main types of corn are: 

Standard. Standard (su) corn has the flavor and texture of traditional sweet corn, but its sugar is quickly converted to starch. Standard corn doesn't stay fresh long, but it can be used for canning. 

Sugar-enhanced. Sugar-enhanced (SE) corn is sweeter than standard corn, and its flavor lasts longer. Sugar-enhanced corn is the best type for canning. Good sugar-enhanced varieties for canning include: 

  • Bodacious
  • Incredible
  • Temptation
  • Delectable
  • Providence
  • Silver King
  • Whiteout

Supersweet. Supersweet (sh2) corn is also called shrunken-2 corn because when it's dry, its kernels appear wrinkled and shrunken. Supersweet corn has twice as much sugar as standard corn, and its sugar converts to starch at a much slower rate. It's excellent for eating fresh but tends to brown and toughen when canned. 

Selecting fresh corn. Choose fresh corn by looking for husks that are dark green, snug around the ear, and feel moist. It should feel hefty when you pick it up. The silks should be tan or yellow. Avoid any ears that have black or brown silks. Run your hand down the length of the husk to check for any sunken spots or bulges, which are a sign of damage or spoilage. 

Don't peel back the husks to check the kernels since that ruins the corn for others. Just feel for kernels around the silk end. They should feel plump and go to the very top. 

What Canning Supplies Do You Need to Can Corn?

You'll need to have some basic supplies on hand before you start pressure canning corn, such as:

  • A pressure canner
  • Canning jars and lids
  • A jar lifter to lift jars from hot water
  • A jar funnel for filling jars
  • Plastic knife to remove air bubbles from jars
  • A lid wand with a magnet
  • Clean cloths for wiping up
  • Timer or clock
  • Knives and cutting board for cutting kernels off the cob

How Do You Prepare Corn for Canning?

Prepare your corn for canning by removing the husk and silk. Cut out any damaged kernels and trim off the top and bottom ends. 

Whole-kernel corn. Bring 1 gallon of water to a boil, add ears to the water, and return to a boil. Blanch for 3 minutes. Let the ears cool. Cut the kernels from the cob about three-fourths of the depth of the kernels. Don't scrape the cob all the way down. 

Cream-style corn. Bring one gallon of water to a boil. Add ears and return to a boil. Blanch for 4 minutes. Let the ears cool and then cut the kernels at about one-half of their depth. Use a knife to scrape the cob and remove the rest of the kernels. Combine the scraped kernels with the half kernels. 

You can prepare your corn for processing with either the hot pack or raw pack method.

Raw packing. Fill your clean quart canning jars with raw kernels, leaving one inch of headspace. Don't shake the jars or press down the kernels. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to a quart jar, if desired. Pour boiling water over the kernels, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Put on the lids and screw the bands. 

Hot packing. Fill a saucepan with 1 cup of water for each quart of kernels. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to each quart jar, if desired. Fill jars with corn and cooking water, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Put on the lids and screw the bands. 

Processing Corn in a Pressure Canner

If you're using a dial-gauge pressure canner, use the following canning pressures for your altitude. 

Process pint jars for 55 minutes and quart jars for 85 minutes at the following pressures (PSI):

  • Altitude: 0 to 2,000 feet: 11 pounds
  • Altitude: 2,001 to 4,000 feet: 12 pounds
  • Altitude 4,001 to 6,000 feet: 13 pounds
  • Altitude: 6,001 to 8,000 feet: 14 pounds

If you're using a weighted-gauge pressure canner, use the following canning pressures for your altitude.  

Process pint jars for 55 minutes and quart jars for 85 minutes at the following pressures (PSI):

  • Altitude: 0 to 1,000 feet: 10 pounds
  • Altitude: Above 1,000 feet: 15 pounds

Safety Considerations When Canning Corn

Low-acid foods can provide the perfect breeding ground for botulism if they aren't prepared correctly. Botulism is the most deadly food poisoning known. Botulism spores are on most fresh foods, but they're usually harmless.

The spores only grow in low-acid environments and in the absence of air. Improperly prepared home-canned foods are responsible for over 90% of all cases of foodborne botulism. The following guidelines can help prevent botulism when canning at home: 

  • Thoroughly wash, peel, trim, and chop vegetables as directed. 
  • Never use a boiling water bath canner for canning low-acid foods.
  • Never add butter, fat, flour, rice, barley, or pasta unless you're using a tested recipe.
  • Don't add ingredients that aren't called for in a recipe. 
  • Vent your pressure canner for 10 minutes before you start processing your corn. 
  • If any jars fail to seal, reprocess within 24 hours. You may need to use a new jar and lid. If it doesn't seal the second time, refrigerate and use it within two or three days or freeze it. 

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Ask Extension: "Sweet corn for canning #443396."

Clemson Cooperative Extension Home & Garden Information Center: "Home Canning Equipment."

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach: "What are the differences between the various types of sweet corn?"

National Center for Home Food Preservation: "Selecting, Preparing and Canning Vegetables."

Penn State Extension: "Let's Preserve: Sweet Corn."

UCHealth: "Fresh corn: how to pick, store and cook."

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