Marianne wrote in to Grow Your Own Groceries for help with some problems she had while canning corn. Her batch of corn turned out completely sour, and she is wondering what she should do differently the next time. I’ve had similar problems in the past, but this method for canning corn has been successful every time.
First off, corn should always be canned in a pressure canner. If all you have is a boiling water canner, you should probably consider freezing the corn instead. Pressure canners are a little more expensive than boiling water canners, but there are several nice options available for under $100. Always adjust the pressure settings to your altitude, according to the instructions that came with the pressure canner.
Next, use the right corn. You should always can the corn when it is as fresh as possible. Preferably, you should pick and shuck the corn within a few hours of canning. The sugars in corn turn to starch very quickly, and this can spoil the flavor of canned corn. Sweet corn is the nicest for canning. I don’t can the tougher, non-sweet varieties.
I usually recruit a helper to help with the actual canning process. It is nice to have help cutting the kernels off the cobs, and the entire job goes much faster when it is done as an assembly line. Blanching the corn does make it easier to separate the kernels from the cobs, but this step isn’t necessary. I typically don’t blanch the corn, in order to preserve as much of the fresh corn’s nutritional value as possible. Don’t bother trying to can the whole cob, it doesn’t ever work out. There are some great recipes out there for corn cob jelly, so set those cobs aside and you’ve got your next project all lined up.
The jar should be scrubbed clean and rinsed out, but the pressure canner will take care of sterilizing the jars. Fill the jar with the corn and add salt for seasoning if desired. Only a little bit of salt is needed, about 1/2 teaspoon per pint or 1 teaspoon per quart of corn kernels. Wipe the rim of the jar clean and put the snap lid in place. New snap lids must be used every time for pressure canning. Add the rings and tighten them finger tight; don’t ratchet them on.
Follow the canner instructions and be sure to adjust for altitude. When the desired pressure is obtained, start the timer: 55 minutes for pints and 85 minutes for quarts. Because of the low acidity of corn, you cannot shortcut these times.
When the corn is done, let the canner cool down enough to release the pressure valves. Remove the jars immediately and place them on old towels to prevent the jars from cracking and to end the cooking process. Do not leave the jars in the canner to cool, this will overcook the corn.
I have been doing my corn this way for years with no problems. I only ever do pint jars, because I like the lower overall cooking time. I hope this information is helpful to Marianne and to others who want to start canning their surplus corn.
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