picking corn?

i have some corn in my garden -- first time thing -- and wonder when i should pick the ears. when the tassels are white? when they are brown? ??? help!
thanks in advance for any assistance,
steve snow snipped-for-privacy@commcure.com
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carefully split the leaves on the cob with your fingernail and see if it looks mature. (while it is still on the plant of course) kelvyn
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That's what we used to do. After some practice, you can learn to judge by the tassels (they are brown on the end) and the fullness of the ear. If the kernels of corn are big enough, they are ripe enough. In fact, if they get too ripe, they rapidly lose flavor. Still, we often take a peek before picking. If it isn't ready, just cover up the split and check it later.
Ray
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Splitting the end is NOT a good idea.
Monitor the silk. The ear will be ripe 21 days after the silk appears. Ripeness is near when the silk begins to dry at the tips. At this point, grab the top of the ear with your hand (thumb pointing down toward the stalk). The top of the ear should feel full and blocky (not sharply tapered). Shuck the ear and look at the kernels. They should be just snug against each other. Too snug and bulging, and the ear is over-ripe. Wide gaps, it/s immature.
If it looks good, pick more of the same. If it/s immature, give it a couple days.
After the silk appears; be sure to provide good irrigation if rainfall is lacking and monitor for ear worms to ensure nice, full ears.
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When in doubt, pick a little on the young side. If you happen to pick an ear that isn't quite ready, cook it anyhow. It'll taste just fine -- maybe even better than a 'perfect' ear.
Ray

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Oh. yah... forgot to mention.
Put the water on to boil before venturing into the corn patch. Don't pick the corn until the water is boiling. Then, pick it, shuck it, and pop it into the water as quickly as possible. Sweet corn rapidly loses its sugar after it is picked.
I understand that one guy experimented with cooking the corn while it's still attached to the stalk. That's carrying it a bit far, but not by much.
We haven't had room to plant corn in years. This year, we planted a bunch. I can hardly wait for the stuff to be ready. :-)
Ray

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Corn does not lose it sugar as quickly as you imply. If it did, then roadside farmer markets would never be able to sell their corn. Corn picked in the cool of the morning will be just fine at dinner time.
Another tasty way to cook corn is to roast it over a charcoal fire. As the leaves char, you strip them off until you get down to the last layer surrounding the ear. It/s well worth the added effort.
--
TQ

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Actually, that depends on the cultivar. The old open pollinated corns turn to starch VERY rapidly. Thats why Sugar enhanced and SH2 hybrids dominate the commercial markets. Some of these things will keep for a week. For standard corns a couple hours will make a difference.
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When in doubt, wait a day.
Inedible, immature corn where the kernels are tasteless little nubs is a waste of time and effort.
--
TQ

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I agree. I, personally, enjoy my corn slightly over ripe by other people's standards. Under ripe corn is rather a waste. Also agree about peeking into the ear being a bad idea. If I do that, birds start to discover the corn and are soon opening the other ears on their own. The tip starts to feel blunt as the corn ripens. Under ripe corn tapers right down to a point. Stephen, I suppose it would be OK to peek inside to confirm what you feel until you got the hang of it. Just close it back up real tight if you don't pick.
Steve
TQ wrote:

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I have eaten corn with 'little nibs', and it was quite good. Maybe that isn't true with all varieties.
Ray

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Stephen I was going through the same and the pattern above is working for me. The silks will defintiely brown--some web sites say if they are brittel you are too late--this didn't seem so for me. The thing about feeling the tip--when you get a ripe one you'll understand it better. The corn looks like it ripens from the stalk to the tip. The tip when immature is tapered to a point and looks like those minature corn stalks you see in asian dishes. As the tip ripens they spread and the end becomes blunt--you can definitely feel the difference without peeling the silk/leaves back.
Also I noticed one small detail which hasn't been explained. A common tip is to peel back the tip and pop a kernel. If the liquid is clear-not ready--milky is good. But when I did this the smallish kernel I popped was solid inside--this is apparently very immature. I did harvest one when the tip kernels were small and I thought the rest of the cob was still good. Peeling the silks back can be a probablem because it enocourages bugs to get in the silk and to the cob. I did find a lightning bug in the silks of the one I had opened. I'm now just feeling the tips.

DiGiTAL ViNYL (no email) Zone 6b/7, Westchester Co, NY, <1 mile off L.I.Sound 2nd year gardener http://members.aol.com/DigitalVinyl66/Garden2004.html
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net writes:

:-)
Year before last, someone here said they often ate it in the garden with no cooking so it would be as sweet as it could be. Actually, after reading that, I did it a lot, had just never thought of it though I've eaten peas in the garden for years. It has a very unique and extra sweet flavor that way, and so good.
I have a horrible (?) habit of eating my breakfast in the garden and never quite get to fixing a real meal. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers are all good right off the vine . . . and that corn was sooooo good straight off the stalk, a great way to start the day! The only time I bothered to take corn in and cook it was when I had company, the rest I ate in the garden (except what I froze). Saves pan and dish washing too. LOL
Glenna
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Me too, the snow peas, tomatoes and all were too good to wait... the only problem is that I'd find the rest of the family out there grazing with me... Some years, not much got put up, but we were full and happy!
susan
Glenna Rose wrote:

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