Fri August 5, 2011
Garden Report

Sweet Corn 101 with Tom Throgmorton

What's the difference between all of the sweet corn varieties?  The main difference is how sweet they are after harvest.

Normal sweet corn varieties are marked with `su' after the name.  Cross-pollination doesn't affect them. They have moderate degrees of sugar right after they are picked.  Within eight or ten hours that sugar changes to starch.  Normal sugary or `su' corns should be harvested and eaten immediately.

Sugar enhanced corns are noted with `se' or `eh' after their name.  Sugar enhanced varieties are sweeter and more tender than normal corns.  Isolation to prevent cross-pollination isn't necessary with sugar enhanced corn.  These are hybrid varieties bred with a gene to hold their sweetness.  Refrigerate sugar-enhanced corns after harvest.  They're sugars won't change to starch for three or four days.  

Supersweet corn is also called shrunken varieties.  Their seed is usually wrinkled and small.  They are noted by `sh2' following their name.  Supersweets need to be isolated.  Normal or sugar enhanced varieties will cross-pollinate them if they are within 25 or 30 feet.  Then the supersweets become super-tough and super-starchy.  The genetics of supersweet corns make them twice as sugary as other corns.  They hold their sweetness for 5 to7 days in the refrigerator.

It may be difficult to find out what type of corn the supermarket has.  Ask the produce person.  Or buy corn at a farmer’s market. 

Remember to keep your corn in the refrigerator and the sooner you eat any corn, the sweeter it is.


Native Hill Farm is trying to keep veggies cool.  As soon as the vegetables are harvested they are cooled in water or ice.  That keeps them fresh for the market and their CSA members.  Coolers and water buckets are a mainstay in the harvest fields.

The heat is great for tomatoes and peppers.  The heirloom tomatoes are being harvested.  They look different but they have wonderful flavor.  These are for fresh eating.  Don’t even think about canning or freezing them. 

Other warm season crops are eggplant, cucumbers and squash.  This is also garlic harvest time.  The tops or garlic scapes are great in stir-fry.

Visit a Farmer’s Market for fresh corn, eggplant and tomatoes.



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