Whether you got a great deal at the grocery or your garden has exploded, learning what you can do with surplus corn is great. There are so many uses for corn; feed for livestock, food for people, dry it for popcorn or dry it for corn meal. The options when it comes to corn are endless. But today, I want to show you how to can corn.
What do you need?
Corn- We had approximately 120 ears of corn and it didn’t take us long to get it all processed. It also yielded us 32 quart jars
A Pressure Canner– we have two of these that run pretty much non stop since they only hold 7qts each
Jars– Pints or quarts will work
Salt is optional. We don’t use it but if you want to, make sure you have enough salt for the amount of corn you have
Don’t forget to add these items to your Walmart cart and have them do the shopping for you! It saves time and a ton of money.
Shucking Your Corn
120 ears of corn is a lot and I absolutely despise shucking corn. I will snap green beans until my fingers fall off, but shucking corn? No thank you. This is usually Jared’s job because he really enjoys it. It’s his version of green beans. If I had two bushels of green beans to go through, and he had two five dozen bags of corn? We would be in heaven. We both turn our brains off and let the beauty of our homestead take over.
After he shucked all the corn, he put it into our huge cooler filled with water. The husks and silks go to the chickens and compost for the garden. I guess we could have given it to the goats but they weren’t interested in the husks.
De-Cobbing Your Corn
There’s a million ways to skin a cat, and getting kernels off a corn cob is no different. We have tried a ton of different gadgets over the years. To be honest, the best one we have found is a knife. Those gadgets may work for a specific size of cob, or only once. The knife is going to work 100% of the time. So if you want to “waste” your money, any of those linked will work…. maybe.
We use a knife and bunt pan or just a knife and a cookie sheet. Nothing fancy. The downside of using this method is that it can dull your blades because you are constantly smacking the knife into the metal. But I like sharpening my knives so that’s not a deal breaker.
As you are getting all those delicious kernels off your cobs, keep in mind that the corn milk will spray EVERYWHERE. Don’t keep open drinks, electronics or anything that shouldn’t get wet anywhere near where you are working. Oh, and it’s extremely sticky.
As we de-cob the corn, we put all the kernels in a smaller clean cooler filled with clean water. This starts the soaking process.
After the corn has soaked for thirty minutes to one hour we will either change the water and let it soak again or we will go ahead and get it into jars. The reason we would resoak is if the water was completely white. If you don’t want to soak, don’t mind the milk, etc. Don’t soak or resoak. It won’t hurt anything.
Prepping For Canning
Once your kernels have soaked, it’s time to get them into jars. The first step to this is to make sure your jars are clean with no chips, cracks, dings, or dents. Usually, I just give them a quick wash and let them dry while I’m getting my canner ready.
I have two Presto 16qt canners and they hold seven quart jars. So when I can corn, it’s a multi day process. I also have a three burner camp stove that I can on to help keep the heat down in the house. I’m hoping to get one of these bad boys soon, but at $500 it’s a little steep right now. The trade off is the ability to stack quart jars in it.
Getting my canner ready simply means making sure that the canner is safe to operate per my manuals instructions. Mine uses 3qts of water and once that’s in, I put it on the camp stove to get it boiling.
Back to the kernels, I start draining/straining out the kernels from the water and adding them to my jars. Once filled to a 1″ headspace, I add fresh water, wipe the rim with a damp vinegar rag and place the lid and ring. Remember only fingertip tight. That means you should only use your finger tips to tighten the ring, not your bicep.
They go into the canner as they are ready. Once my canner is filled and the water is ALMOST boiling, I will put the lid on and lock it. I usually let me canner vent for 5-10 minutes depending on how full it is. Meaning, if it’s filled with pints, I usually go 10 and quarts 5. But follow your canners instructions. Place your weight and wait for your weight to jiggle or rock. Then slowly start to lower the stove temp until the weight is barely moving. We don’t want the weight to blast off into space.
Corn is processed at 55 minutes for pints and 85 minutes for quarts at 10# but if your elevation is over 1000 feet, go with 15#.
I also have a quick reference guide that you can download get in my members only section. Sign up below and you will be emailed the password.
It’s Done Processing, Now What?
Depending on your set up, you can just turn the burner off and let the canner depressurize naturally. Or if you have a camp stove and the other side is in use, you can CAREFULLY move the canner somewhere it can cool down. When I say careful, I mean be friggin careful! Seriously, no one needs to have their face melted off because the weight moved. If you’re using your stove at home, do not slide it. Pick it up. If you can’t pick it up. Just don’t even touch it. Seriously, it’s not worth the risk.
After the canner has cooled and the pressure valve has dropped, you can crack the lid and allow some heat to escape. I usually weight 10-20 minutes and then remove the lid completely. Once the contents have stopped boiling, I will unload the canner and place all the jars on a toweled surface.
It’s not hard to can corn at home. And it definitely beats store bought every day. But I’m sure you have some questions. So…..
How many ears fit into a quart or pint jar? It takes approximately 4 ears of corn per quart or two per pint.
Do you use salt? We don’t, but that’s only because we choose to season our food when we cook it.
Is there a zero waste method? Sure, you can boil down the cobs and make corn cob jelly. You can also drink the milk. Our zero waste method is to give it all to the animals. They love it.
What if I don’t like canned corn? You can absolutely freeze it instead. Just layer a cookie sheet with parchment paper and do a single layer of corn. Once frozen, put into a freezer bag.
What if I have extra jars but not a full canner? You can put them in the fridge for immediate eating or you can freeze them. Another option is to can water. This will give you sterile water in case of emergencies.
What if I don’t have coolers? Or a big cooler? Work in batches. If we know that each jar takes approximately 2-4 depending on the jar, then only do a full canner full at a time, and store the rest in the fridge. You can also use a clean sink.
Canning Corn on the Cob
- 1 Pressure Canner
- 1 Canning Tools
- 1 Jars Look in the post above for the rough conversions on how many jars you will need
- 1 Corn on the cob
- 1 Tbsp Per Quart jar Optional
- Start by shucking your corn and getting as many of the little hairs off.
- Grab either your de-cobber or knife and start cutting the corn off the cob. This can be tricky so watch your fingers.
- Place corn in clean water to help get the milk out. You may have to rinse and repeat if your corn was really milky
- Using funnel, scoop corn into jars leaving 1" headspace
- Fill with water again, leaving 1" headspace.
- Remove any bubbles with chopsticks, straw, or other debubbling tool
- Wipe rim with damp vinegar towel.
- Add lid and ring and put into canner
- Fill canner with water to manufacture recommendation. Ours is 3 quarts
- Set it on the stove and get the water heating, we usually put ours on high as we are loading it
- Once the canner is loaded, place your lid per manufacture instructions.
- We let our canner vent for 5-10 minutes then place the weight on the vent pipe.
- Once the weight starts rocking, slowly decrease the stove temp until the weight is just barely rocking.
- Let this process for 85min for quarts and 55 for pints
- Once the time is done, remove from heat and let the canner cool and depressurize naturally. This usually takes about 30-45min depending on processing time
- Once the canner is safe to open, remove lid and, if the contents of your jar are not obviously boiling, pull the jars out with the jar grabby thing and place on a towel to cool completely
- Remove rings and wash threads. Corn is extremely sticky so the rings may be hard to remove. Not doing so can lead to mold, rust and rotten food.
- Wash the threads of your jar (where the rings were) with warm soapy water. Write the date and store