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How to store freshly picked corn

Ears of corn in their husksHow to store freshly picked corn

If you just picked up some corn at a farm market or farmstand or just picked it yourself off the cornstalks, the clock is ticking to ...

... use it or cool it!

Corn is at its prime eating quality after being picked from the cornstalk for only 72 hours (3 days) before becominglosing it's sweetness. The most important factor is cooling it as soon as possible after harvesting it.  Get it into the fridge or cover it with ice!


Modern corn varieties have been bred to have very high sugar levels, which gives those ears the crisp sweetness.  But outside of a refrigerator or being covered in ice, enzymes present in the kernels quickly turn those sugars into bland starch.

Shucked or leave the husks on?

Although some farmers say you should remove the shucks right away; most of the research say to leave a covering of at least 2 leaves deep. That has been my experience, too.  I've found that removing most of the shuck, but leaving a few leaves to cover each ear is best to prevent the kernels from drying out.  That makes them neater and easdier to store in the fridge with less space taken up, but still keeps the kernels from drying out.

Bag the corn

A loose fitting bag, like a grocery store bag is perfect to put the partially shucked ears in, in the fridge.  If you use a tightly sealed bag, like a ziploc bag, you may get mold forming quickly from all the moisture. Something that reduces drying but still breathes, like a grocery store bag (plastic or paper) works well.

Other tips

  • If the husks have already been removed from the raw corn on the cob, wrap the corn in plastic or foil before refrigerating it.
  • Do not wash corn in the husk before storing.

How to shuck corn before storing:

  1. Snap off the excess stalk at the base of the ear.  Most of the loose outer leaves will come off with the stalk part.
  2. Peel off the loose outer leaves until you only have a layer 2 or 3 deep of inner leaves remaining around the ear.

Canning or Freezing the corn

See these pages for illustrated  step by step directions:

Cooking the corn

This page has simple cooking instructions