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How to harvest sweetcorn

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
At its best
At its best

Plant is not at its best in January

Plant is not at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is not at its best in June

Plant is not at its best in July

Plant is at its best in August

Plant is at its best in September

Plant is not at its best in October

Plant is not at its best in November

Plant is not at its best in December

To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do To do in August

Do To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

Having tended your sweetcorn crop all summer, make sure you harvest the cobs when they’re at their peak of ripeness. Pick them too soon and they’ll be watery and not very sweet, pick them too late and they’ll be tough. Harvest times vary, depending on the variety, the sowing time, the weather conditions and the part of the country in which you live, so check the ripeness of your cobs regularly. 

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Total time:

Step 1

Keep a close eye on your sweetcorn cobs as they swell. Once the tassels have turned brown, test for ripeness by peeling back the outer husks and pushing your fingernail into the cob. If a milky solution comes out, then the cob is ready to pick, but if the liquid is clear, leave it a little longer.

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Step 2

Pick the cobs just before you’re going to eat them, with water on the boil ready to pop them straight in. The sugars in sweetcorn start turning to starch the very moment the cob is picked, so freshly harvested cobs have a sweetness you’ll never get from shop-bought ones.

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Step 3

If you have a glut of sweetcorn, you can freeze it. Blanch the cobs in boiling water for five minutes, cool in iced water, then strip off the kernels and store in freezer bags. 

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