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Can your own corn from corn-on-the-cob (easy, reliable how-to directions, recipe, with photos and free)
How to Can Corn - From Corn on the Cob!
using the "Hot Pack" method
Click here for
a PDF print version
you don't have room in your freezer, but you want to be able to enjoy the corn
from your garden this winter, then home-canning your corn is the easy way to do
it. Here's how to do it, complete instructions in easy steps and completely
illustrated. The corn will taste MUCH better than any canned corn you've ever
had from a store. Frozen corn, of course, retains flavor better. If
you want directions for freezing corn,
click here. One other important note: you will need a pressure canner.
Corn is a low acid food, so you cannot use a boiling water bath canner. It
must be a pressure canner. Pressure canners cost more than water bath canners,
but they are more versatile and last a lifetime, and your children and
grandchildren may be using it.
See this page for more information about pressure canners.
See this FAQ for more details:
Can I use a water-bath canner instead of a pressure canner for low acid foods
Hot Pack v. Raw Pack? Hot pack means the corn is heated to boiling
before we put it in the jars. Raw pack means it is placed into the jars without
heating, and then the jars are processed in the canner. Which is better?
Not much difference. Food safety experts prefer the hot pack method,
because you can stir the corn the ensure it gets evenly and thoroughly heated.
Raw pack instructions are here,
should you prefer them.
Directions for Canning Corn at Home
Ingredients and Equipment
- fresh corn on the cob - any quantity. I figure 1.5 ears per
- 1 Large pot of boiling water (for filling the jars)
- 1 medium sized pot of boiling water (to heat the cut corn)
- 1 sharp knife
- 1 Large spoon or ladle
Ideal ear - ripe but not bloated. the kernels are still tender
(easily punctured with your fingernail) and the juice is milky).
White, yellow or bicolor types are all fine!
Step 1 - Get yer corn!
with fresh corn on the cob - as fresh as you can get. If there is a
delay between harvesting and canning, put it in the refrigerator or put
ice on it. The sugars break down quickly at room temperature.
According to the USDA, about 32 pounds (in husk) of sweet corn is needed
per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 20 pounds is needed per canner
load of 9 pints. Note that a bushel weighs 35 pounds and yields 6 to 11
quarts of canned corn, which is an average of 41/2 pounds of corn in the
husks per quart of finished canned corn.
Step 2 - Get the pots ready
This is also a good time to get the canner filled (about 2/3 full)
with water and start it heating.
Step 3 - Husk the corn
the corn and pick off as much of the silk as you can. A soft
vegetable brush is the fastest and easiest way to get the remaining silk
off - just don't be too rough with it.
Step 4 - Cut the kernels from the cob
if you are canning the corn on the cob, skip this step.
Whole Kernel Corn - Cut kernels from cob about 2/3 to
3/4 the depth of the kernels. I hold the ear by the small end, and slide the
knife down the ear. See the next photo.
Cream Style Corn - Cut kernel tips about 1/2 deep and
scrape the cobs with the back of a knife to remove the juice and the heart
of the kernel.
way to prepare cream style corn for canning is to cut and scrape the corn
from the cob without blanching. Place the cut corn in a double boiler, and
heat with constant stirring for about 10 minutes or until it thickens.
You don't need a special tool, just a very sharp knife!
Some folks use an electric carving knife and report this is the easiest
method, and a few use a meat slicer.
However, a number of people wrote in
to point out that they prefer one of the tools below, as do I, often because
it is easier for them due to arthritis, or simply faster.
As the corn piles up in your bowl, it will look like this!
up, the corn comes off in strips. As you put these in the bag,
they will easily separate into separate kernels.
Step 5 - Get a pot of water boiling
You'll need this to supplement the water in step 10 to fill the jars after
you pack them with corn.
6 - Heat the cut corn
Dump the cut kernels into a measure cup (so you know how much you
have) and then put the corn into a saucepan or pot. Add 1 cup of hot
water for each quart of corn. Heat the corn to boiling and simmer
Step 7 - Pack the jars
jars with corn, leaving 3/4 to 1 inch headspace (corn tends to expand
more than other vegetables).
Step 8 - Fill with hot water
Be sure to include enough cooking liquid to cover the corn and jostle
out any air bubbles that may be trapped. You may add additional plain
boiling water from step 7, if you are short on liquids from the heated
corn. Still leave 3/4 to 1 inch headspace
Step 9 - Put the lids and rings on the jars
Wipe the rims of the jars, put the lids on and then the rings on
snugly, not not TOO hard.
Step 10 - Process the jars in the pressure canner
the directions with your pressure canner and process the jars for the
times and pressures below depending upon your altitude, type of pressure
canner and jar size. My canner is a dial-type, shown at left.
Once the gauge hits 10 or 11 pounds (depending on the type you have),
start your timer going - see the table below for the time for the size
of jar and altitude. Adjust the heat, as needed, to maintain that
Note: the chart below will help you determine the right processing
time and pressure, if you have a different type of canner, or are above
It is important to learn how to operate your pressure canner by
reading the owner's manual that came with your particular canner. If you
cannot find your owner's manual, you can obtain find one online: Here is
where to find some common manufacturer's manuals:
or by contacting the company that made your canner. Give the model
number to the manufacturer, and they will send you the right manual.
information about pressure canners and a variety of models you can order.
Processing time for corn in a dial-gauge
||Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
||0 - 2,000 ft
||2,001 - 4,000 ft
||4,001 - 6,000 ft
||6,001 - 8,000 ft
Processing time for corn in a
weighted-gauge pressure canner
||Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
||0 - 1,000 ft
||Above 1,000 ft
Step 11 - Done!
the processing time from the chart above is up, turn off the heat, and
allow the pressure canner to cool and the pressure to drop to zero
before opening the canner. Let the jars cool without being
jostled. After the pressure drops to zero (usually, you can tell but the
"click" sound of the safety release vents opening, as well as but the
gauge. Let the pressure in the canner drop to zero by itself. This
may take 45 minutes in a 16-quart canner filled with jars and almost an
hour in a 22-quart canner. If the vent is opened before the pressure
drops to zero OR if the cooling is rushed by running cold water over the
canner, liquid will be lost from the jars. Too rapid cooling causes loss
of liquid in the jars!
Later, when you are ready to serve the corn,
it just takes about 3 or 4 minutes in the microwave (from frozen) or in the
top of a double boiler. The corn doesn't need to be "cooked", just
- Harvest early in the morning, especially if the weather is hot, to get
- Harvest the corn at its peak maturity (milky fluid in the kernels,
kernels tender, and not bloated). Immature corn is watery when cooked and
over-ripe corn is chewy and doughy.
- Process promptly after harvesting, or keep cooled in the fridge or with
ice until then.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What causes corn to turn brown during processing?
This occurs most often when too high a temperature is used causing
caramelization of the sugar in the corn. It may also be caused by some
minerals in the water used in canning.
- Aspirin / Salicylic Acid? My mother canned corn using salicylic acid.
The only recipe I have is: 7 cups corn 1/2 cup salt 1 cup sugar 1t.salicylic
acid 1 cup water Let boil several minutes. What do I need to know to can
corn using this method?
You may have heard of someone's grandmother canning corn by boiling the
corn, adding aspirin or salicylic acid from the drugstore, then sealing the
corn in jars with no further processing. According to the
University of Illinois, a recipe circulated several years ago, using
aspirin to acidify tomatoes and beans for canning. Aspirin is not
recommended for canning. While it contains salicylic acid, it does not
sufficiently acidify low acid foods like tomatoes or beans for safe hot
water bath canning. Low acid foods (without added acids) should only be
processed safely in a pressure canner. Lemon juice or vinegar is recommended
to acidify tomato products for safe water bath processing. You can also see
an article in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol.
289 No. 13, April 2, 2003, titled "Is salicylic acid as a food preservative
harmful?"; from which the abstract states: "salicylic acid, in
the ways in which it is used in the preparation of food products,
is not only not harmful, but is a preservative to health, inasmuch
as the process of decomposition which it prevents would be far
Comments and Tips
- Comments from a visitor on August 15, 2009: "Hi, I just wanted to
share that we use an electric knife to remove the blanched corn from the
cob. It is the easiest quickest way we have found for this part of the
process. Last night we processed 10 dozen ears of corn in two hours. Please
pass it on. My 80 year old grandma taught me this trick! Thanks, kim"
If you want to can low-acid foods such as red meats, sea food, poultry,
milk, and all fresh vegetables with the exception of most tomatoes,
you will need a pressure canners. These foods fit into the low
acid group since they have an acidity, or pH level, of 4.6 or greater. The
temperature which must be reached and maintained (for a specified amount
of time) to kill the bacteria is 240 F. Pressure canning is the only
canning method recommended safe by the U.S.D.A. for low-acid foods such as
vegetables, meats, and fish. Ordinary water bath canners can only reach
212 F and cannot to kill the types of bacteria that will grow in low acid
foods. This temperature can be reached only by creating steam under
pressure as achieved in quality pressure canners.
There are several manufacturers of pressure canners. The two
leading ones are Presto and All American (Wisconsin Aluminum). They are more
expensive than water bath canners, but extremely well built - I bought mine
in 1988 and it still looks and works like new!
||BUT, with a pressure canner it's easy. And although a
pressure canner costs $100 to $200 (see this page for pressure canners
models, makes and prices), they last a lifetime, and your children and
grandchildren may be using it. You can also find free information from
the USDA in this PDF file (it will take a while to load!) about
selecting and using canners here!
Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner
Click here for replacement Presto Pressure Canner Gaskets
Presto 01755 16-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner
This is usually about $72 PLUS SHIPPING. (which is also a GREAT
price for a pressure canner, although, I think the 23 qt above for $7
more is a better value.). Click on the links at left or above for more info and current
pricing. It is available from the sellers .com (click on the box link
Click here for replacement Presto Pressure Canner Gaskets
All American Pressure Canner and Cookers - In 3 Sizes
Click on the box at left to order
See the seller's website for features, pricing and user reviews!
This is usually one of the best-priced pressure canners. There is also a 16 quart version for even less. Click on the links at left or above for more info and current pricing. Click on the box at left for more information.
Pressure canners for Induction Cooktops!
- Extremely versatile, pressure canning is the only safe method of
preserving low-acid foods with a ph level of more than 4.6.
- Can and store your favorite preservative-free recipes at once.
Perfect for soups, vegetables, baby food and so much more!
- Reduces cooking time by up to 70%! Save time in the kitchen
while preparing healthful recipes with all-natural ingredients.
- Pressure cooker can be used independently to prepare ready to
serve meals. Fast cooking translates to less energy consumption.
- Save time in the kitchen while preparing healthful recipes with
all- natural ingredients.
- Reviewers report excellent results on induction cooktops