If 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 can not 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.
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
Directions for Canning Corn at Home
Ingredients and Equipment
fresh corn on the cob - any
quantity. I figure 1.5 ears per serving.
1 Large pot of boiling water (for filling the jars)
1 medium sized pot of boiling water (to heat the cut corn)
2 large bowls, one filled with cold water
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!
Start 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 4½ pounds of corn in the husks per quart of finished canned
2 - Get the pots ready
also a good time to get the canner filled (about 2/3 full) with
water and start it heating.
Step 3 - Husk the corn
Husk 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
Obviously, 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.
Another 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; allow to cool by placing the pan in ice
You don't need a special tool, just a very sharp
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 pressure.
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
can not find your owner's manual, you can obtain find one online: Here
is where to find some common manufacturer's manuals:
Processing time for corn in a
dial-gauge pressure canner
Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes
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!
When 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 peak flavor.
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.
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
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, inthe ways in which it is used in the preparation of food products,is not only not harmful, but is a preservative to health, inasmuchas the process of decomposition which it prevents would be farmore dangerous."
Comments and Tips
A visitor writes 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 can not 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
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
This is usually about $80 PLUS SHIPPING.
(which is a GREAT price for a pressure canner). There is also a 16
quart version for about $69. Click on the links
at left or above for more info and current pricing. It is also available
from Amazon .com (click on the box link at left) (and below from Target)
17 by 15-1/2 inches; 12-year warranty
Heavy-duty 23-quart aluminum pressure canner and
Comfortably ergonomic, stay-cool black plastic
Strong-lock lid with pressure regulator, dial
gauge, and overpressure plug
Comes with canning rack to protect jars during