FoodLink - Purdue Extension

sweet corn

Zea mays subsp. mays
Available from July to September


Sweet corn comes in a range of kernel colors: yellow, white, and bicolor (yellow and white).


Here's a short video about preparing sweet corn.

Sweet corn is most often eaten cooked. Peel or “shuck” the outer green leaves and remove the silks. If you see insect feeding damage on the tip end, simply cut off the end of the ear.

Sweet corn can be cooked anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes, depending on how “done” you like it.  Once cooked, it can be eaten directly off the cob or sliced off and used in recipes. To slice corn from the cob, use a very sharp knife (do not use a serrated knife). Hold the ear firmly at the tip and carefully shave off the corn kernels at their base, without cutting the cob. Each ear will produce about ¾  cup of corn. 

Boil: Shuck corn. Boil a large pot of water with 1 tablespoon of salt and then add corn. Cook for 3-5 minutes.

Steam: Shuck outer husks and silks from corn. In a steamer, add 1 inch of water to the bottom and bring to a boil. Place corn in a basket above boiling water for 7-10 minutes.

Microwave - Leave corn in husks, place in the microwave, and cook them on high for 4-6 minutes. Let corn cool and then pull off husks and silk. 

Grill: Heat grill to medium-hot, pull back the husks, but leave them attached. Remove the silks and brush corn with olive oil. Pull husks back over corn and wrap with aluminum foil. Turn corn occasionally while grilling for about 15 minutes. Let corn cool, then remove husks. Alternatively, shuck only the outer leaves of the ear and remove the silks, leaving a few layers of leaves around the ear. Soak the ears in water for a few minutes while heating the grill. Lay the ears directly on the hot grill and grill, covered, for about 20 minutes, turning every few minutes. Remove charred leaves.


Short-Term Storage

Corn is best  eaten the day it is picked. The sugars in corn begin to convert to starch very quickly so you should purchase only what you can eat in a few days. Store sweet corn in the refrigerator with the husks on or off — of course, shucked corn will fit in the fridge much more easily. Raw corn cut off the ears will last only a day or two in the refrigerator before turning sour. Cooked corn that is cut off the ears will last in the refrigerator about 4 to 5 days.

Long-Term Storage

Corn is one of the best vegetables to freeze because the quality of home-frozen corn is superior to commercial products.

Learn how to freeze and can sweet corn.

Learn more about freezing vegetables.

Learn more about canning vegetables.

Find out how to freeze corn and how to can cream-style corn. Try this mixed vegetable recipe for canning or these tips for drying vegetables.

Quick Fact

The average ear of corn has 800 kernels, arranged in 16 rows. There is one piece of silk for each kernel.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size

1 ear, medium (6-3/4” to 7-1/2” long) yields (90g)







% Daily Value

Total Calories









Dietary Fiber



Total Sugars



Total Fat



Saturated Fat













 2 mg














Vitamin A

 9 mg


Vitamin C

 7 mg








Food Safety Tips

Keep fresh produce away from raw meat and raw meat juices to avoid cross-contamination

Follow the safe food guidelines for all fresh produce.

Related Resources

Corn is a warm-season annual plant with a very long growing season. There are hundreds of different corn varieties: sweet corn, field corn, popcorn, ornamental corn. You can grow corn that has different colored seeds (kernels) and that mature at different times. There are three general types of sweet corn: normal sugary, sugary enhanced, and supersweet. Unlike other vegetables, the seed is the edible part of the plant rather than the flesh of the fruit.

Plant seeds directly into the garden, 1/2 inch deep in cool, wet soil, 1-1.5 inches deep in drier warm soils, 2 inches deep in light, sandy soils. The first planting can be made around the average last frost date if you’re willing to chance a lost crop. Planting later (1-2 weeks after the average last frost date) is a bit safer. The soil should be above 55°F for normal sugary varieties, above 60°F for sugary enhanced, and above 65°F for supersweet varieties.

Plant corn in several short rows rather than one long thin row. Plants should be 8-12 inches apart in rows about 30 inches apart. Spacing within a wide row is 12x12 inches. Corn can also be planted in hills. Plant 5-6 seeds, thin to three plants per hill, and space hills about 3 feet apart. Each plant produces one ear and perhaps a second smaller ear.

Early varieties mature in about 60 days, late maturing varieties in 90. Ears mature about 20 days after the first silk strands appear — this depends on temperature. It will take longer in cool weather, less time in hot. Ripe corn has a green husk, dry brown silks, full-size kernels that are fully colored at the tip of the ear, and kernels that release a milky liquid when you puncture them with your thumbnail.

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