Canning corn is a great way to preserve your harvest. Some people love it, and some don’t. Personally, I like the flavor of home-canned corn too. Canning corn from your own garden or another local grower is still better than store-bought canned sweet corn.
This page includes:
Tips and Frequently asked questions
Many people also prefer the taste of frozen corn. For these reasons, freezing corn is another great preserving option. I do some of each because my family prefers the frozen over canned. But I love the convenience of canned!
We have a wonderful variety of sweet corn that is grown around here called Olathe Sweet Corn. It is so good and sweet, and they have a festival weekend dedicated to corn. The weekend includes concerts and all-you-can-eat corn on the cob.
How to Can Corn
Gather your supplies:
- pressure canner
- canning jars
- canning lids and rings
- jar lifter and canning funnel
- large pot or blancher to blanch corn
- large spoons
- sharp knife
- kettle for boiling water
- large cookie sheet or other shallow pan
- towels and dish cloths
- four boys to pick and husk the corn (Optional, but a real time saver! These are my corn huskers.)
- canning salt – optional
You will need about 32 pounds (in husks) of sweet corn per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 20 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints.
Pick your corn. Get your corn huskers to work! Make sure they do their best to get all the hair off. Games make this task fun. Challenge them to see who can husk the most ears. Here’s a tip for mess control: husking can be done outside.
While the corn is being husked, start boiling water, either in a large stockpot or your blancher.
Blanch your corn cobs.
- Place in boiling water for 2-3 minutes and remove with tongs. If you are using a blancher, the tongs are obviously not necessary.
- Cool immediately in a sink or large bowl of ice-cold water.
- A blancher works well or just use a large stockpot.
- You do not want to cook the corn, just blanch it. I find it easier to cut it off the cob this way. I read that many people skip this blanching step. Since this corn will be processed in a pressure canner, you can skip the blanching step if you prefer.
Cut the kernels from the cob. This can get messy because the corn tends to squirt. Do it in an area that will be easy to clean up. I have a big island in the center of my kitchen that I use. I LOVE easy clean up! Outside is another great choice. We have an outdoor kitchen area in our carport that works.
Let the cobs cool. Set it on end and run your knife down the sides, cutting off the kernels. You want to aim for 2/3 of the kernels. Avoid cutting into the cob itself.
- You can use a large cookie sheet to catch the kernels; a large flat dish like a cake pan would also work.
- Use an electric knife: I’ve never done this but it sounds like a great idea.
- Use a bundt pan: Set your corn on end on the center piece and let the kernels fall into the pan. I’ve tried this and it seems awkward to me. I list it here because I have seen others rave about doing it this way. Try it, and you may just like it.
Our favorite way to cut the corn off the cob. Here is a video of my husband’s cutting-the-kernels-off-the-cob-time-saver. He is using a tool that is called a corn stripper. I do not have a brand name on ours, and it is a vintage tool that has been around for years. If you do a search on Amazon, you’ll see some that are similar.
Video – Tim’s Easy Corn stripping Method
Close-up of the blade on this corn stripper. (Check your local farm store for similar cutters. It is an invaluable tool when canning corn, dehydrating, and pickling.) When you want to get a lot of cobs stripped, use one of these.
While the corn is being husked and the corn is cut off, go ahead and get your canner and canning jars ready.
Add salt to the jars, ½ tsp per pint or 1 tsp per quart. (Salt is for seasoning purposes only.)
After the kernels are off the cob, pack into clean canning jars.
Fill jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. be sure the corn is covered with boiling water. Wipe the rims of your jars clean, so there will be no food particles to interfere with the seal.
When canning corn, you can either use the raw pack or hot pack method. Here are directions for both:
- Raw Pack: Pack lightly into hot jars and add boiling water, leaving 1-inch headspace.
- Hot Pack: Simmer kernels for 5 minutes, and then pack into jars. Top off with cooking water, leaving 1-inch headspace.
Place your canning lids on and finally add your screw bands. Place in a pressure canner to process.
Always use a pressure canner when canning corn. If you need more instruction on how a pressure canner works, see this page.
How to Process Corn in a Pressure Canner (hot or raw pack)
- Pints – process for 55 minutes.
- Quarts – process for 1 hour 25 minutes.
Be sure and use the proper pressure for your altitude. Check the chart on the pinnable recipe below for your elevation.
Then allow your canner to cool and remove the jars. (see pressure canning for more specifics on the cool down process)
- Fresh corn
- Canning salt optional
- Pressure Canner
- Large stockpot
- Kettle for boiling water
- Something like a large cookie sheet or shallow pan/bucket to catch your corn kernels.
- Four boys to pick and husk corn. (Optional, but it’s a real time-saver!)
- Canning jars, seals, and rings
- Canning funnel, lid lifter, and jar lifter
- Ladle and bubble tool
- Start by preparing your jars and getting water in the canner heating. You want the canner hot, but not boiling, when the jars are ready to be processed. If you are new to using a pressure canner, see this article for full pressure canning instructions. This includes more detailed information and step-by-step instructions on how a pressure canner works.
For a Raw Pack
- Add salt to jar if desired (1/2 tsp. per pintor 1 tsp. per quart).
- Pack kernels into hot jar.
- Add clean boiling water, leaving 1” headspace
- Remove bubbles.
- Wipe the rim clean and place on seal andring.
- Place jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars. Process in a pressure canner according to the chart below.
For a Hot Pack
- Cover corn in water and bring to a low boil for 5 minutes.
- Add salt to jars if desired (1/2 tsp. per pint or 1 tsp. per quart).
- Pack corn into jar.
- Cover with cooking water, leaving 1”headspace.
- Remove bubbles.
- Cover with clean boiling water, leaving 1” headspace.
- Remove bubbles, wipe the rims clean and place on seal and ring.
- Wipe the rim clean and place on seal and ring. Place the jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars. Process in a pressure canner according to the chart below.
Adapted from: The National Center for Home Food Preservation
Why did my corn turn brown?
If you are working with a sweet corn, don’t be surprised if it comes out a deep, golden color. This sometimes happens with the sweeter varieties. It is possible you processed it too long or too high a pressure… but more likely it is the variety of corn. Sweet varieties tend to brown more. The flavor is amazing though! Please do not interpret this to mean you can lower your time or pressure. You still need to process this safely. Don’t over process but don’t under process either. IF the color bothers you try a different variety next time.
“When Pressure Canning Corn, Do I Really Have to Process It for That Long?
Corn does take a bit more work than some other foods. It is not hard, but it has a processing time of 1 hr and 25 minutes for quarts and 55 minutes for pints. Compared to other produce, canning corn takes a long time. Here are a few questions from readers who are wondering if they are processing properly
Why is the processing time so long?
Question: Sharon, I was reading canning corn and noticed that it takes 1hr-25min to do a batch. Why does it take so much longer with corn and beans to process. Thank you.
Sharon’s Answer: It all has to do with the acidity of the food. I’ve used the times recommended by the USDA. They test the foods and determine the length of processing necessary for eliminating the risk of botulism. Corn is more starchy than other vegetables, so I’d assume the acidity levels are different as well. Also, corn contains more natural sugar.
Here are a few pages that might interest you:
Botulism – A severe, sometimes fatal food poisoning caused by ingestion of food containing botulin.
Canning methods – Which canning methods to use? Is my food high-acid or low-acid? Should I process in a water bath canner or pressure canner? Why? That is a common question ~ and a good one…
Amy’s Question: Hello, I’m a long time canner/freezer/preserver type of girl. In the past I’ve always put my corn up in the freezer, because that’s the way mom and gran do it. But the garden is gang busters this year and even with a new freezer, there isn’t going to be room for all of it.
Anyway I called gran and borrowed mom’s steam pressure canner and canned up the first few batches of corn. I followed the directions in the Ball Blue Book and let the thing chick-chick for 55 minutes.
However the corn has darkened quite a bit and some of the water in the jar is gone as well. So I’ve gone on-line to get more info. Both gran and mom say 55 mins is too long and they only ever steam theirs for 25 minutes.
I’m filding conflicting directions on line too, I’ve found websites indicating times anywhere from 25 to 55 minutes. I don’t want to poison my family, but I would love it if that 25 minute time was a possibility.
Sharon’s Answer: Hi Amy, This is a hard question. And I have been asked it in a myriad of ways. Can I do it the ‘old’ way? Many of the questions posed to me point out that either moms or grandmothers did things different. And I certainly don’t like contradicting our elders… often they have great wisdom!
However, the answer is: You take a risk by doing it the ‘old’ way. You have to make that decision yourself. Personally, I’ve decided to just follow the recommended guidelines and have that peace of mind. The processing times I give on my site are all taken from safe sources. My most frequently used source is the National Center for Home Preservation, though some directions are from the Ball Blue Book too. The only time I have seen shorter processing time for corn is when it is a pickling recipe. For example this corn relish recipe. Because it is pickled the processing time is much shorter.
The good news is that it is not unusual for canning corn to turn golden in color. Mine often is a darker color. From my research, it is because it is a very sweet variety. My corn never tastes overcooked.
As far as the liquid loss, that is okay too. You want to avoid it, but it will not hurt your corn, unless it is extreme. Liquid loss is often caused by taking your jars out of the canner too quickly. This page has more on liquid loss in home canning.
I hope that helps. Sharon
Do You Like Creamed Corn? Try This.
Here’s a quick, easy way to make a cream-style corn from regular kernel corn–canned sweet corn, frozen corn, or store-bought corn. It doesn’t matter. This is not for canning; rather, it is how I make creamed corn when I open the jars of canned sweet corn.
Heat corn to simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, if you wish. Remove 1/2 of the corn to a blender. Add 1/2 cup or so of cream. (Half and half, evaporated milk, or another cream of your choice works, but I usually have half and half on hand.) Puree.
Add back with corn. Add butter and salt to taste. Heat and serve.
Pin for later
More Ways to Preserve Corn
This page explains everything you need to know about freezing corn, either on the cob or as sweet corn kernels. Also, learn how to make a cream-style corn.
Canning corn from your own garden or another local grower is still better than store-bought corn.
Corn Cob Jelly
I decided to try something fun. Corn Cob Jelly sounds weird. But hey, if you add enough sugar, even corn cobs can turn out tasty!
Corn Relish Recipe
I had all the ingredients for this growing in my garden, so I decided to try a corn relish recipe I found in my Ball Blue Book.
I found that just like most things, dehydrating corn is easy…especially since we were on a roll and already had had corn prepped for freezing, canning, pickling, and sweets.
Canning information source: Canning Corn at NCHFP.