Canning Corn

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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.

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: Extended, Step-By-Step Directions

Gather your supplies:

Ingredients:

  • corn
  • 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.

Dad and the boys shucking corn in the backyard.

While the corn is being husked, start boiling water, either in a large stockpot or your blancher.

Blanching Corn for Canning

  • 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.

Cutting Corn Off the Cobs

Cut the kernels from the cob. This can get messy since 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.

A cookie sheet filled with corn kernels cut directly off the cobs.
  • 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.

Tim’s Easy Corn Stripping Method

This is 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.

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.

The round corn stripping blade mounted between two metal bars to hold it in place.

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.

Wiping the rim of a jar of corn with a wet paper towel.

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)


Recipe Card

Canning Corn

Canning corn is a great way to preserve your harvest. 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.
Print Recipe
A pint jar of golden sweet corn kernels.
Prep Time:1 hour
Processing Quarts (adjust for altitude):1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time:2 hours 25 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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, 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. 

Notes

Processing with a Pressure Canner
Place the jars in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars placing them in the prepared hot canner. 
Put the lid on the canner leaving the weights off.  Bring to a boil. Watch for the steam to start coming out the vent pipe in the lid.
Allow the steam to ‘vent’ for 10 minutes then put the weights on. Use the proper weight for your altitude (check the chart below) This is when pressure will start to build.  
When the pressure reaches the pressure required for your altitude (check the chart below) that is when you’ll start your time.  Process for the full time indicated, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain the correct pressure for the entire time.
When processing time is completed turn off the heat. Do not remove weights yet. Let the canner sit undisturbed until pressure comes back to zero. Do not try to speed up the cooling process.
Remove the weight and wait 5 minutes.
Open the lid to allow steam to escape. (carefully don’t let it hit your face or arms!) Leave the lid setting on top of the canner slightly ajar and wait 5 minutes.
Take the lid off the canner and remove your jars. (optionally you can wait another 5 minutes if the contents appear to be bubbling so hard it is coming out of the jars)
Put the jars a few inches apart on a thick towel and allow them to cool to room temperature undisturbed. 12 hours is suggested.
When the jars are cool, remove the metal bands, check the seals, and store the jars in a cool dark place.
Processing Instructions (Raw Pack or Hot Pack) 
Process pints for 55 minutes or quarts for 1 hour 25 minutes, adjusting for altitude.  
Altitude Adjustments for Pressure Canner  
Altitude – Weighted Gauge   
0-1,000 ft – 10 pounds  
1,001-10,000 ft – 15 pounds  
Altitude – Dial Gauge
0-2,000 ft – 11 pounds
2,001-4,000 ft – 12 pounds
4,001-6,000 ft – 13 pounds
6,001-8,000 ft – 14 pounds
8,001-10,000 ft – 15 pounds
 
Source: The National Center for Home Food Preservation, Colorado State Extension
Servings: 7 quart jars

Canning Corn Tips & FAQs

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 for Corn So Long?

“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…

Processing Time Question from a Reader

“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 gangbusters 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 online 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 finding 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.”

-Amy

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 canned 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.

When Can Corn Be Processed in a Water Bath?

Video Transcript – Edited for Clarity

I have a question here today from Maria. She asks, “You mention to always to pressure can corn for 55 minutes. However, your recipe for the corn relish calls for a water bath for 15 minutes. My altitude is below a thousand feet from sea level. So which canning process should I use and for how long?”

That is a really good question, Maria. You do need to pressure can corn when it’s plain corn, just canned in water with maybe a little salt. If it’s just corn, it must go into a pressure canner. If you are canning my corn relish, you’re adding acid to the corn, because it has vinegar in the recipe. That changes the processing required.

It’s a tested recipe. Don’t just add acid to any vegetable. It doesn’t work that way. It has to be tested for the proper pH levels for the vegetables that you have in there. The relish has corn, peppers, and onions in it, but because of the added acid, it can be processed in the water bath canner.

I hope that was helpful. You’ll see me in the next video, and we’ll talk to you later.

Related Pages

Freezing Corn – This page explains everything you need to know about freezing corn, either on the cob or as sweet corn kernels.

Canning 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.

Dehydrating Corn – 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.

Pin This for Later!

Canned Sweet Corn

Source: The National Center for Home Food Preservation, Colorado State Extension

Page last updated: 7/29/2021

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Anita L Gonzalez
Anita L Gonzalez
1 month ago

I’m making Mexican Beef Soup and it takes corn on the cob can I pressure can the soup

TFM
TFM
2 months ago

Thank you for this! I love the link to the lady with the tools on youtube. I do WB my corn —- hrs though as per Kerr/Ball canning book. While I live in Canada, I follow canning rules from my home country – NO PC. I just happen to live in Nth America. You will probably NOT post this comment.

Kimberly Peters
Kimberly Peters
3 months ago

I canned a bunch of corn this past summer. I blanched it and put butter in it before putting in jars. I opened the first jar and it was sour. I just opened another jar and it tastes funny also. Should I have left the butter out before processing?

GWPDA
GWPDA
1 year ago

WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

We got our first shipment of Olathe Sweet Corn two weeks ago, down here in Tucson. I bought and then froze around two quarts. To find a proper canning page dealing with Olathe Sweet Corn? Heaven!

Laura
Laura
1 year ago

Here is a link to a video which shows how I get my husband to help can corn….since I’m not allowed to touch his tools 🙂 He goes out to the back patio with the corn on the cob, a huge storage bucket and his drill and comes back in with corn ready for me to can! The patio hoses right off — our kids love to help as well! (We usually give it a second pass through the corn cutter like your husband did to get all of the tasty bits)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gd5FRX6fnb8

Teresa Trettin
Teresa Trettin
1 year ago

Not to give any unsolicited advertising but I cut my corn kernals with a corn cutter from a popular party company of kitchen items (PC) and even picked up an extra one at a resale nonprofit. These gadgets are heaven sent and cut the corn off the cob without taking the cob. Easy on the hands too! I did find a creamed corn recipe that didn’t add milk before canning . It tasted great and did turn a bit more tan than I like but no one objected.

Karen
Karen
1 year ago

Have everything but the four boys 🙂 thank you for posting this wonderful blog.

STEVE martenson
STEVE martenson
2 years ago

why drain corn kernels and then fill with boiling water again? i boiled my corn and as its boiling i put it into the jars and then into the pressure cooker and use 10psi and 55 mins as prescribed. will my eliminating the draining and refilling step mess up my corn???

Cheryl
Cheryl
2 years ago

If like to know where Tim found the pails that fit the tool. A 5 gallon pal is to wide.

June Rush
June Rush
2 years ago

5 stars
Awesome thanks to you and your husband for showing me how to can corn I always pressure can because it is is don’t take that much time I’m so glad I found your page thank you I can a lot

Rachel Abernathy
Admin
Rachel Abernathy
2 years ago
Reply to  June Rush

So glad Sharon’s tutorial was helpful to you!

Rachel (Sharon’s assistant)