Your Guide to Canning Corn to Preserve the Fresh Flavor of Summer

When you know how to make canned corn, you can savor those fresh-from-the-field flavors for months to come.

Cross canned corn off your grocery list. Once you know how to make canned corn at home, you won't need store-bought. Even if you're new to canning, you can make it super simple to use your pressure canner to preserve fresh corn using our step-by-step guide on how to can sweet corn. You won't find instructions for how to can corn in a water bath (aka boiling-water canner). Since corn is a low-acid food, it must be processed in a pressure canner to eliminate harmful bacteria. But if you have a pressure canner and a few canning jars in your cupboard, you can save any extra ears of sweet corn that summer has to offer.

cutting corn off cob
Scott Little

Prep the Corn

For 1 quart or 2 pints of canned corn, you'll need about 4½ pounds of corn (the weight before you cut off kernels). Start by removing the husks, then scrub the ears with a vegetable brush to remove the silks. Wash each ear and drain. In a large pot cover the ears of corn with boiling water and boil 3 minutes. Cut the corn from the cobs at ¾-inch depth of the kernels (in other words, don't scrape the cob).

Want to know how to make canned corn with some kick? By adding a few ingredients to your hot-pack, like green curry paste, you can transform plain canned corn into curried corn instead. Plus, once you've canned a batch of this spicy corn, you can turn it into creamed corn just by adding coconut milk when you reheat it (check out the recipe for instructions on how to make creamed corn from canned corn). If you're already planning to can a few jars of plain corn, add a couple of spiced jars to the mix to add some variety to your stock of preserved veggies.

Choose Between Raw-Pack and Hot-Pack Canning Corn Methods

A raw-pack (also called a cold-pack) is better for veggies that you process in a pressure canner, so it's the usual choice for canned corn. The food is ladled into jars while it's still raw (or just briefly boiled those 3 minutes in the case of canned corn), then boiling water (or syrup or brine) is poured on top. The raw-pack method is faster since it doesn't include any additional cooking time, but it may result in some shrinkage during processing.

A hot-pack is more commonly used for foods that will be processed in a boiling-water canner, but you can still use this method for pressure-canning corn. It's the best way to remove air pockets from your jars and preserve both the color and flavor of foods. Rather than packing your prepped corn directly into jars, you'll cook the corn for a few minutes first, then ladle the mixture of corn and liquid into each jar while it's still hot. This precooking makes your food less likely to spoil since it eliminates more air. Usually, you can fit more food into each jar with a hot-pack, which could be helpful if you're canning a large amount of corn.

pressure cooker on stove with glass jar cans inside
Boiling-water canner and pressure canner. Waterbury Publications Inc.

How to Can Corn Using a Raw Pack

Pack the corn kernels loosely into jars but don't shake the jars or press down the corn. Pour boiling water over the kernels, leaving a 1-inch headspace in each jar. Wipe the jar rims and adjust the lids. Process in a pressure canner for 55 minutes for pints and 85 minutes for quarts.

Test Kitchen Tip: For a dial-gauge canner, use 11 pounds of pressure; for a weighted-gauge canner, use 10 pounds of pressure. Add 1 additional minute to the processing time for each additional 1,000 feet above sea level.

How to Can Corn Using a Hot Pack

Bring 1 cup of water to boiling for every 4 cups of corn kernels. Add the corn and simmer for 5 minutes. Fill your jars with the corn and liquid, leaving a 1-inch headspace in each jar. Wipe the jar rims and adjust the lids. Process in a pressure canner for 55 minutes for pints and 85 minutes for quarts.

Blue Ribbon Corn Relish
Andy Lyons

How to Make Pickled Corn

If you're dead-set on learning on how to can corn without a pressure cooker, it's possible, but you'll have to pickle it. Pickling your sweet corn in vinegar makes it acidic enough to be safe for boiling-water canning. If you only have a boiling-water canner and don't want to buy a pressure canner, pickling your sweet corn will change the flavor but will make it possible to preserve your summer corn without having to purchase any extra supplies.

No more wasted sweet corn for you! With the help of your pressure canner, you can preserve any extra ears you have until the next fresh sweet corn season rolls around. You can use homemade canned corn just like you would store-bought, so feel free to add it to soups and salads, or even just serve it plain as a side dish whenever you need a reminder of summer flavors.

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