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Shepherds Hill Homestead » Canning, Plain Lifestyle, Vegetables » Canning Corn

Canning Corn

MMMM corn!

A lot of folks debate the issue of whether to preserve their corn by freezing or canning. I have done and continue to do both for several reasons. I want to share what I have learned about corn and also how to can corn if you decide to do so.

We must begin with the growing of the corn. As most folks know there are two types of any crop grown in gardens: heirlooms or open-pollinated varieties which are the original, naturally occurring varieties and hybrids which are crops which have been changed by cross-pollination methods and sadly through modern genetic engineering. I am not going to spend time in this article discussing GMO’s. We will save that for another discussion.

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Heirlooms will reproduce themselves through their seed into the same plant as the parent plant. Hybrids will either produce sterile seed or seed that will bear something other than itself – usually reverting back to some form of one of the parent plants. Hybrids are developed to have the benefits of disease resistance, improved flavor, storing ability, color, etc. It is up to you to decide what you will plant and grow but I just wanted to clarify this info.

In reference to corn there are also varieties identified by the terms “field corn or dent corn” and “sweet corn” as well as the “super sweet (sugar enhanced)” corn. This is important for you to know in dealing with canning and freezing corn. Sweet corn and super sweet (SE) corn does not always do well for canning. Let me explain. When you process corn in a canner, it must cook for a long time – an hour and 25 minutes for quarts. If the corn variety you use has high sugar content, there is a good chance that those sugars will begin to caramelize during the canning process. While this will not really affect the flavor of the final product, it can change the corn to a brown color – caramel. For some folks it is not visually pleasing. This is not a problem if you are adding the corn to a soup or casserole, but most folks want their corn yellow or white. This is something to think about when deciding on how you want to preserve your crop. The SE corn is the worst about this so you want to freeze those.

Here are a few of the well-known varieties of each type are:

Field/Dent Corn
• Truckers Favorite (this is the one I am using for this canning session)
• Bloody Butcher
• Hickory King
• Pencil Cob

Sweet Corn
• Country Gentlemen
• Golden Bantam
• Iochief
• Merit
• Jubilee
• Silver Queen

Super Sweet (Sugar Enhanced)
• Kandy Korn
• Argent
• Serenity
• Peaches and Cream
• Seneca Spring

Several things are important to remember when canning corn. One is that you need really fresh corn. If the corn has over matured on the stalk then the natural occurring sugars begin to turn to starch and the moisture content lessens. This is also the case with corn that has been picked and left on the counter for a couple of days. This greatly affects the taste. Using corn that was not picked at its peak or corn that has been picked for awhile is not going to have that fresh taste and therefore will not be a good finished product. You don’t want to spend your time canning and then a month or two down the road, open the jar and it is . . . YUCK! So start with fresh! At the very least, refrigerate the corn until you can get to it.

Now freezing corn – the two reasons I freeze some corn are these. If I want to have some corn kept on the cob, I freeze it. The other reason is, as stated above, if it is a super sweet variety, then I freeze it whether on the cob or cut. I want to preserve all that sugar so I blanch it for a few minutes, and then put it in cold water to stop the cooking. Then I drain it well, put it in food saver bags and store in my freezer. I realized many years ago that I didn’t want to be completely dependent on my freezer so I try to can or dehydrate as much as possible.

On to canning the corn!! You need a pressure canner to can your corn – (All low acid foods must be canned in a pressure canner). There are two types – one that uses a gauge and one that uses a jiggler. I have both and use both but prefer the jiggler. Make sure your canner is working properly – check the steam openings and any gaskets. If you use a gauge canner, take it to your local county extension office and have it checked at the beginning of each canning season.

First step: Cut the corn from the cob. Try not to get into the cob because this will add tough bits to the corn. Also try to make sure you pick out any silk that didn’t get pulled when you were shucking the corn.

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Step two: Make sure that there are no nicks or cracks in the jar or around the rim. Put your clean jars into boiling water in the canner and let them boil in there until you are ready to fill them with the corn.

Canner with jarsStep three: Place your lids in hot water and keep them hot – NOT BOILING. This will soften the part that adheres to the jar. I do not normally heat my rings as this has never been necessary.

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Step four: Put your corn in a pot and barely cover with water. Bring this to a boil and boil for three minutes.

Boiling corn

Step five: Using a jar lifter, remove one jar at a time to fill. This will keep the jars very hot. Place a funnel in the top of the jar and then using a slotted spoon, scoop corn from the pot into the jar. When you get it filled almost full use a ladle and ladle in liquid until the jar is almost full.

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Step six: Use a bubbler or a flat rubber spatula to release air bubbles. Slide the bubbler down between the side of the corn and the jar. When you get it to the bottom, pull in a bit and you will see bubbles rise. The corn and/or the liquid will fill the space where the air was. You may need to add more liquid or corn after releasing all the air bubbles. You want 1 inch of space between the top of the corn/liquid to the top of the jar.IMG_6476

 

Step seven: Pour in one teaspoon of canning salt if you are doing quarts and a ½ teaspoon if doing pints. This is salt that has no iodine added to it. You can use table salt but it may discolor the corn. *You don’t have to add salt if you don’t want to.

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Step eight: Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean wet cloth to make sure there are not salt grains or bits of corn on it. This would cause the lid not to seal properly.

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Step nine: Take a lid from the hot water and place it on the jar then holding the lid in place, screw on a ring. You don’t need to tighten it all the way – just finger tight. Making it too tight will cause the jar to not seal.IMG_6470

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Step ten: Place the jar into the canner of boiling water. Follow these steps until you have the canner full with your jars. If you don’t have enough food items to fill the jars then place empty jars into the empty spaces in the canner. You don’t want there to be a lot of vacant room because the jars will jostle around and could break. Each canner usually has a rack in it with designated spaces for the jars.

IMG_6473IMG_6477Step eleven: Place the lid on the canner and turn it to lock. Turn your heat up and wait for steam to come from the top. Once the steam is coming out of the vent pipe in a strong steady stream, set your timer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, place your weighted gauge on the pipe.

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If you are using a jiggler style canner, put it on 10 pounds pressure. If you are using a gauge canner then just place the pressure regulator on the pipe and begin watching your gauge. On a jiggler canner, when you have reached 10 pounds of pressure, the jiggler will start moving. You want a nice steady jiggle. If it is going crazy and hissing and blowing steam and not really jiggling then your pressure is too high and you need to lower the heat. If it is only jiggling every now and then you need to turn up the heat. When you have the jiggler going steady then you begin timing.

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For pints you process for 55 minutes and quarts for 1 hour and 25 minutes.  If you are using a dial gauge canner, you should keep it at 11 pounds pressure.

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*If you live at a high altitude you will need to check on changes to pressure and time depending on your altitude.

Step twelve: When your timing is done, turn off the heat and allow the canner to cool down. Don’t try to remove the jiggler until it has sufficiently cooled and don’t try tapping it to make the steam leave more quickly. This will cause the liquid in your jars to come out and can cause such a drastic change in pressure that it will break your jars. Just allow it time. Once you are confident that the steam has let up, remove the jiggler and allow the canner to continue to cool. When you feel no steam of any kind coming out of the vent pipe, then you can try to turn the canner lid. If it is still fairly tight then wait a little longer. Be very careful when you do finally open the lid because steam can still escape and burn you badly.

Once you have removed the lid, give the jars a few more minutes to cool before removing. This will help the liquid to not seep out under the seal.

Place the jars on a towel on your counter and then just wait until they cool. You should hear a pop when the lid seals and THAT is a sweet sound indeed! If the lid of the jar stays up in the middle then the jar has not sealed. You can either place that jar in the fridge for immediate use or re-process the jar. After the jars are completely cool, you can remove the ring and wipe off the jar. Don’t forget to label it with the date and name of the contents. You are finished!

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Happy Canning!!

Angelia

Written by

"It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him." Lamentations 3:22-24

Filed under: Canning, Plain Lifestyle, Vegetables

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