Full Steam Ahead! How to Can Corn

Pressure canning takes home preservation beyond the water bath.
Pressure canners use steam to safely can low acid foods (like corn).

Pressure canners use steam to safely can low acid foods (like corn).

Pressure canners use steam to safely can low acid foods (like corn).

Pressure canners use steam to safely can low acid foods (like corn).

In the summertime, mountains of fresh-picked corn can be found at every turn: roadside stands, farmers' markets, even the occasional backyard garden. When the weather is hot, corn is king. Grilled, steamed, creamed or microwaved right in the husk, the sweet yellow or white favorite is a staple of the season, and we will eat more than our fill before autumn arrives all too soon. And then we’ll eat some more, thanks to the magic of pressure canning.

Although commercially canned corn is standard pantry fare, it isn’t necessarily the first vegetable one thinks of when diving into summer canning. Why are low acid vegetables like peas, asparagus and corn so often left of the list? It all comes down to bacteria. 

Water bath canning is the process of boiling canned produce in water to seal jars and to kill the enzymes that cause food to spoil. For high-acid produce or produce to which acids have been added (think pickles), bacteria that may lead to botulism or salmonella are killed off by the favorable pH levels. Safe canning of low-acid produce needs a little help knocking out that dangerous bacteria in the form of heat that a water bath just can’t provide.

Using pressurized steam, specialized canning equipment can reach temperatures in excess of 240 degrees, necessary to destroy dangerous bacteria. Pressure is controlled by adjusting the temperature of the stovetop burner on which it rests, and a regulator valve ensures that safe levels cannot be exceeded. Pressure canning is safe, easy and reliable, but unlike water canning, it requires an investment that may intimidate the casual home canner. 

Ready to take the plunge? Pressure canners can be purchased for as little as $60, and for the home canner ready to take that next step, there’s no better time. Canning that plentiful (and cheap) summer corn is an easy first project that will pay off all year long.

How to Pressure-Can Corn

  • 4 ½ pounds of corn (in husk) for each quart to be canned
  • ¼ teaspoon salt per quart

Remove husks and silk from fresh ears and blanch in a pot of boiling water for 3 minutes.

Using a sharp knife or a corn zipper, cut the kernels from the cob, taking care to take off as little of the cob as possible.

Fill sterile quart canning jars with corn (do not compress), leaving 1 inch of head space. 

Add ¼ teaspoon salt to each jar.

Pour boiling water into each jar to cover corn.

Cap jars with lids and bands and process in pressure canner at 10 psi for 85 minutes.

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Freeze Corn

Treat your family to the fresh-picked flavor of corn on the cob—all year long. It’s not hard to freeze this summertime favorite.

How to Can Spaghetti Sauce

Modern tomatoes have changed the rules for safe canning.

5 Fantastic Corn Recipes

When it comes to new ways to highlight summer corn, we're all ears.

Corn Casserole Recipe

Put those golden ears to good use in an old-fashioned corn casserole revved up for modern tastes.

Creamed Corn Recipe

The flavors of summer burst from this delicious creamed corn with country ham dish.

How to Store Home-Canned Produce

Seven tips for a long and healthy shelf life.

Cook Perfect Corn on the Cob

Discover the top methods for serving up an ear of this summer favorite.

How to Make Garden Fresh Sandwiches

Celebrate the garden with sandwiches incorporating fresh herbs, cucumbers and perfectly hard-boiled eggs.

How to Make Watermelon Refrigerator Pickles

Don't toss those watermelon rinds! Turn them into a tasty summer snack with a little help from your fridge.

How to Pickle Asparagus

Try these easy steps for canning your garden-grown asparagus.


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.