How to tell when corn is ready: Easy tips and tricks

Corn is one of the most popular summer crops that are cultivated around the world. It takes a lot of time and effort to grow corn, and it’s essential to know when it’s ready to be harvested. Corn is best when it’s consumed at its peak, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re harvesting the corn at the right time. In this article, we’re going to show you easy tips and tricks for telling when corn is ready to be harvested.

Appearance of the Corn

When corn is mature, it changes its appearance. The first thing you will notice is that the green husks that protect the cob will start to dry out and become papery. The silks, which are the soft, hair-like threads that emerge from the top of the cob, will start to dry out and turn brown. When you notice these changes, it’s an indication that the corn is almost ready to be harvested.

Kernel Appearance

Another way to tell when corn is ready for harvest is to examine the kernels. As the corn matures, the kernels start to grow and harden. When the kernels are fully formed and plump, it’s an indication that the corn is ready for harvest. You can also check the color of the kernels; if they’re yellow, it’s an indication that the corn is ready.

Mature Corn Plant Height

When the ears of corn have formed and are almost fully developed, the corn plant will start drying out from the bottom up. The lower leaves will turn yellow and start to die off. When the plant is about two-thirds of its full height, it’s an indication that the corn is ready for harvest.

Look at the Ears of Corn

The ears of corn themselves give away some signs of readiness too. The size and shape of the ears can give you an indication of their maturity. Fully-developed ears will be large and cylindrical, with the seeds tightly packed. Immature ears may have gaps between the rows of kernels, as the gaps will become more prominent when the kernels plump up fully.

Sugar Content

Corn tastes great when it’s harvested at its peak, and the sugar content is one of the essential factors that determine the maturity of the corn. As the corn matures, the sugar content in the kernels peak and start to convert to starches. If you harvest your corn too early, it may be starchy and lack sweetness.

Density and Fullness

When you’re checking your corn for readiness, inspect the kernels themselves for density and fullness. You want them to be full and plump with a little give when squeezed gently between your fingers. They shouldn’t feel hard or flimsy, as this is an indication that they’re not yet ready.

Harvesting Corn

Once you’ve established that the corn is ready for harvest, the next step is to pick the ears of corn. You can do this by simply twisting the ear of corn, and it will snap off the stalk. You can also cut the stalk and remove the cob, but this can be more time-consuming.

Storage of Harvested Corn

After harvesting your corn, you can store it for short periods before using it. Leave the husks on the corn to help preserve its freshness. You can store it in the refrigerator if you plan to use it within a few days. If you’re not planning on using it immediately, you can freeze it.


Now that you know the signs of mature corn, you can determine exactly when to harvest your crop. Harvesting the corn at the perfect time will give you the best-tasting corn, so it’s essential to get it right. Look for the signs of maturity and remember to store your corn correctly.

Common Questions about Harvesting Corn

  • Q: How long does it take for corn to mature?
  • A: The time it takes for corn to mature depends on the variety you planted. Most varieties take between 60 and 100 days.
  • Q: How do you freeze corn?
  • A: To freeze corn, remove the kernels from the cob and blanch them in boiling water for 5-6 minutes. After blanching, cool the corn and then place it in freezer bags or containers.
  • Q: How can you tell if corn is overripe?
  • A: Overripe corn will have kernels that look shriveled and have lost most of their juice content. The husks will also be almost entirely dried out and may be turning black.
  • Q: Can you store corn on the cob in the refrigerator?
  • A: Yes, you can store corn on the cob in the refrigerator for up to five days. Wrap the corn in damp paper towels before storing it.
  • Q: How often should you water corn?
  • A: Corn plants need consistent moisture, and you should aim to water them deeply once a week, giving them around 1-2 inches of water each time.
  • Q: What is the best time of day to pick corn?
  • A: Early in the morning is the best time to pick corn because it’s cooler, so the corn will be firmer and crisper.


  • Smart Gardener. (n.d.). When to Harvest Corn. Retrieved from
  • Natorp’s Nursery Outlet. (n.d.). The Best Time to Harvest Sweet Corn. Retrieved from
  • University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. (n.d.). Harvesting and Storing Vegetables. Retrieved from

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