Field to Fork Sweet Corn! (FN1799, Reviewed Jan. 2020)

Sweet corn on the cob (or off the cob) is a tasty addition to meals. Corn, also called “maize,” is sold by color, not variety (white, yellow or bicolor). Corn can be preserved in different ways to be enjoyed year-round.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

Makenzie Forward, Community Nutrition Practicum Student

Field to Fork logo


Plant sweet corn once the soil temperature is approximately 50 F. Place seeds 8 to10 inches apart and about 1 inch deep in full sun. If planting more than one row, space the rows about 2½ to 3 feet apart. For well-filled ears, plant in blocks of at least four rows.

Pick sweet corn in the cooler temperatures of early morning.



Whole-kernel or cream-style corn: Water blanch cobs for four minutes. Cool promptly, drain and cut the corn from the cob to about two-thirds of the depth of the kernels. Fill pint or quart plastic freezer containers or freezer bags. Leave about ½ inch of head space to allow for expansion during freezing. Squeeze the air from the bags and seal. Label with the date.

Corn on the cob: Water blanch small ears (1¼ inches or less in diameter) seven minutes, medium ears (1¼ to 1½ inches in diameter) nine minutes and large ears (more than 1½ inches in diameter) 11 minutes. Cool promptly and completely in ice water. Drain and package; press out air from the bag. Seal and freeze.

Learn more about freezing vegetables in the NDSU Extension Service publication “Freezing Vegetables” (FN187).


Use a pressure canner following current guidelines. Do not use a boiling water-bath canner. Corn is among the low-acid vegetables.

Follow current pressure-canning procedures in the NDSU Extension Service publication “Home Canning Low-acid Vegetables” (FN173).


Select tender, mature sweet corn. Husk the ears, then cut the kernels from the cob. Dehydrate for six to eight hours.


One 6-inch ear of corn (about ½ cup of kernels) has 60 calories, 0.5 gram (g) fat, 2 g protein, 14 g carbohydrate, 1.5 g fiber and 2 milligrams sodium. Sweet corn also has some vitamin C, iron and other nutrients.


corn chowder

Potato Corn Chowder

2 potatoes, peeled and diced
¼ c. water
2 c. fresh or frozen corn kernels (or 1 15-oz. can sweet corn, drained and rinsed)
2 Tbsp. margarine
¼ c. all-purpose flour
2 c. skim milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare potatoes as directed. Place in a microwave-safe bowl. Add water, cover and microwave for eight minutes. Alternately, cook potatoes in water on the stovetop. If using canned sweet corn, open, drain and rinse the corn. While potatoes are cooking, melt the margarine in a saucepan, add flour and stir until smooth. Add skim milk and stir until thickened, about five minutes. Stir in corn and potatoes and cook two to five minutes. Season with pepper and salt as desired.

Makes eight servings. Each serving has 140 calories, 3 g fat, 4 g protein, 25 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber and 280 mg sodium.

Creamed corm

Creamed Corn

3 c. fresh (or frozen) corn kernels, divided   
 ¾ c. low-fat milk   
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt

Combine 2 cups of corn with milk, cornstarch and salt in a blender; blend until the mixture is creamy. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and add the remaining cup of corn. Cook on medium, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender and mixture thickens, about five to seven minutes.

Makes five servings. Each serving has 100 calories, 5 g fat, 4 g protein,
22 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber and 135 mg sodium.

Grilled Corn-on-the-Cob

1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced (optional or can substitute purchased red peppers)
1 Tbsp. butter
¼ c. fresh cilantro (optional)
2 Tbsp. chopped green onions
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. Tabasco sauce (optional)
4 ears fresh sweet corn, husked

To roast bell pepper, place on baking sheet; broil in oven until blistered and charred. Put in heavy plastic or paper bag; seal; let set for 20 minutes. Peel skin; don’t worry about removing all the charred parts. To make pepper seasoning in a blender or food processor, combine the red pepper, butter, green onions and cilantro, if desired, and add salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce. Place each ear of corn in the center of a piece of aluminum foil, shiny side up. Coat each ear with a quarter of the pepper seasoning mixture. Wrap the foil around the corn, making sure the ear is well-sealed by the foil. Refrigerate until ready to grill. Preheat grill. Place corn on grill near the edges or cooler areas. Grill until tender, turning frequently, about 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully unwrap the corn and serve.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 130 calories, 5 g fat, 4 g protein, 21 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber and 170 mg sodium.

Key to abbreviations

c. = cup                                   oz. = ounce

tsp. = teaspoon                          g = gram

Tbsp. = tablespoon                mg = milligram

Funding for this publication was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service through grant AM170100XXXXG005.
Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.

For more information on this and other topics, see

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